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/O .2,0". /o 

%^ PRINCETON, N.J. . 4f, 

Purchased by the Mary Cheves Dulles Fund. 

Division *"" -^ 



V. ^ 


Volume IX 

Volume I. Greek and Roman 
William Sherwood Fox, Ph.D., Princeton University. 

VoLXJME II. Teutonic 
Axel Olrik, Ph.D., University of Copenhagen. 

Volume III. Celtic, Slavic 

Canon John A. MacCulloch, D.D., Bridge of Allan, Scotland. 

Jan Machal, Ph.D., Bohemian University, Prague. 

Volume IV. Finno-Ugric, Siberian 
UNO HoLMBERG, Ph.D., University of Finland, Helsingfors. 

Volume V. Semitic 
R. Campbell Thompson, M.A., F.S.A., F.R.G.S., Oxford. 

Volume VI. Indian, Iranian 
A. Berriedale Keith, D.C.L., Edinburgh University. 
Albert J. Carnoy, Ph.D., University of Louvain. 

Volume VII. Armenian, African 
Mardiros Ananikian, B.D., Kennedy School of Missions, Hart- 
ford, Connecticut. 
George Foucart, Docteur es Lettres, French Institute of Oriental 
Archaeology, Cairo. 

Volume VIII. Chinese, Japanese 

U. Hattori, Litt.D., University of Tokyo. 
(Japanese Exchange Professor at Harvard University, igi 5-1016) 

Masahtjru Anesaki, Litt.D., University of Tokyo. 
{Japanese Exchange Professor at Harvard University, iqij-iqis) 

Volume IX. Oceanic 
Roland Burrage Ddcon, Ph.D., Harvard University. 

Volume X. American (North of Mexico) 
Hartley BtTRR Alexander, Ph.D., University of Nebraska. 

Volume XI. American (Latin) 
Hartley Bxtrr Alexander, Ph.D., University of Nebraska. 

Volume XII. Egypt, Far East 
W. Max Muller, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania. 
Sir (James) George Scott, K.C.I.E., London. 

Volume Xni. Index 

OF ALL RACES /„:;', 


GEORGE FOOT MOORE, A.M., D.D., LL.D., Consulting Editor 









Copyright, 191 6 
By Marshall Jones Company 

Entered at Stationers' Hall, London 

All rights reserved 
Printed September, 1916 




IN the following pages we shall seek to present an outline of 
the mythology of the Oceanic peoples. Although certain 
aspects of the mythic system of this area, as well as the myths 
of separate portions of it, have been treated by others, the 
present writer does not know of any recent endeavour to gather 
all available materials from the whole region, or to discuss the 
relationship of the mythologies of the various portions of 
Oceania to one another, and to the adjacent lands. The attempt 
has been made to go over all the myths of worth which have 
been published; but it is not impossible that valuable and im- 
portant material has been overlooked. Some omissions, how- 
ever, have been due to circumstances beyond control. A num- 
ber of volumes containing material, probably of considerable 
value, were not to be found in the libraries of the United States, 
and disturbances consequent upon the European War have 
made it impossible to secure them; while other gaps are due 
to the author's insufficient knowledge of Malay languages, 
which prevented the use of some collections of tales, published 
without translations. 

The selection of the legends to be presented has offered con- 
siderable difficulty, this being especially marked in the class of 
what may be denominated, for convenience, miscellaneous 
tales. No two persons would probably make the same choice, 
but it is believed that those which are here given serve as a 
fair sample of the various types and include those which are 
of widest interest and distribution. In the majority of cases 
the tales have been retold in our own words. For strictly 
scientific purposes exact reproductions of the originals would, 
of course, be required; but the general purpose of this series. 


and the limitations of space, have made this method impossi- 
ble. References have in every case, however, been given; so 
that those who wish to consult the fuller or original forms of 
the tales can do so easily. These references, and all notes, have 
been put into an Appendix at the end of the volume, thus 
leaving the pages unencumbered for those who wish only to 
get a general idea of the subject. The Bibliography has, with 
few exceptions, been restricted to the titles of original pub- 
lications; reprints and popular and semi-popular articles and 
volumes have been omitted. Every care has been taken to 
make the large number of references correct, though it is too 
much to hope that errors have not crept in. 

In the brief discussions at the end of each section, and again 
at the end of the volume, we have sought to draw conclusions in 
regard to the probable origin of some of the myths and to point 
out the evidences of transmission and historical contact which 
they show. Merely to present the tales without offering any 
suggestions as to how they had come to be what they are and 
where they are, seemed to fail of attaining the full purpose of 
this series. No one is more conscious than the author that the 
hypotheses offered will not meet with universal acceptance; 
that they rest, in many cases, upon uncertain foundations; 
and that, plausible as they may look today, they may be funda- 
mentally modified by new material and further study. Should 
this essay only serve to stimulate interest in this field, and lead 
to greater activity in gathering new material while yet there 
is time, he will be quite content. 


Harvard University, June i, 1916. 



Author's Preface v 

Introduction xi 

Part I. Polynesia i 

Chapter I Myths of Origins and the Deluge 4 

II The Maui Cycle 41 

III Miscellaneous Tales 57 

IV Summary 92 

Part II. Melanesia loi 

Chapter I Myths of Origins and the Deluge 105 

II Culture Hero Tales 122 

III Miscellaneous Tales 130 

IV Summary 148 

Part III. Indonesia 151 

Chapter I Myths of Origins and the Deluge 155 

II Trickster Tales 186 

III Miscellaneous Tales 206 

IV Summary 240 

Part IV. Micronesia 245 

Chapter I Myths of Origins and the Deluge 248 

II Miscellaneous Tales 258 

III Summary '. . . . 263 

Part V. Australia 265 

Chapter I Myths of Origins and the Deluge 270 

II Animal and Miscellaneous Tales 288 

III Summary 301 

Conclusion 304 

Notes 309 

Bibliography 345 




I Image of Kuila-Moku, Hawaii — Photogravure Frontispiece 

II Wooden Figure of Tangaroa Upao Vahu, Austral Island 5 

III Carved Club Head, Marquesas Islands 10 

IV Wooden Figure of Taria-Nui, Rarotonga, Cook Islands 18 
V Carved End of Wooden Staff, Cook Islands 26 

VI "Hei-Tiki," Jadeite Amulet, New Zealand — Coloured 37 

VII Carved Wooden Figure, New Zealand 48 

VIII Carved Wooden Panel, Mythological Subjects, New 

Zealand 58 

IX Mythical Animal, Carved from Drift-Wood, Easter 

Island 69 

X Tapa Figure, Easter Island — Coloured 76 

XI Monolithic Ancestral Image, Easter Island 88 

XII Wood Carving, New Ireland — Coloured 105 

XIII Mask from Elema, British New Guinea — Coloured . 117 

XIV Ancestral Mask Made of a Skull, New Hebrides — 

Coloured 125 

XV Wooden Dance-Mask, New Ireland — Coloured . . . 138 

XVI Wooden Ghost-Mask, Borneo — Coloured 158 

XVII Image of Bugan, the Sister-Wife of Wigan, Philippine 

Islands 171 

XVIII Dyak Drawing on Bamboo, Borneo 183 

XIX Ifugao Ancestral Image, Philippine Islands 199 

XX Wooden Ancestral Image, Nias Island 220 

XXI A. Native Carving Representing Mythological Sub- 
jects, Pelew Islands 250 

B. Native Carving Representing Mythological Sub- 
jects, Pelew Islands 250 

XXII Aboriginal Drawing of Totemic Being, Australia . . . 271 
XXIII Native Drawing of an Evil Spirit, called Auuenau, 

Australia 285 



XXIV Wurruna Spearing Emus, Aboriginal Drawing, Aus- 
tralia 295 



1 Native Drawing of a Sea-Spirit I3S 

2 Native Drawing of a " Dogai,'' or Female Bogey .... 142 

3 Native Drawing of a " .5m wyxp " 280 



Oceania 3^4 


THE myths and tales in this volume have been gathered 
from all parts of Oceania, and it may be wise, therefore, 
at the outset to indicate just what area is included in our sur- 
vey; to sketch very briefly the character of the peoples and 
the environment in which they live; and to state the general 
plan and purpose of the book. 

The use of the term Oceania is, and has been, rather variable. 
By some it is taken to include only the smaller islands of the 
Pacific Ocean, comprised for the most part within the limits 
of Polynesia and Micronesia, while others extend the applica- 
tion of the term so as to include also Melanesia as well as the 
whole group of the East Indies. In the present case it is this 
latter usage which is followed, and the great island-continent 
of Australia, together with its appendage of Tasmania, is fur- 
ther added. Thus by Oceania will be meant all island areas, 
great or small, from Easter Island to Sumatra and from 
Hawaii to New Zealand. 

This great region may, for our purposes, be conveniently 
divided into five sections: (i) Polynesia, which may be roughly 
defined as including all the islands lying east of the i8oth me- 
ridian, together with New Zealand; (2) Melanesia, comprising 
the huge island of New Guinea, together with all the islands 
and archipelagos extending therefrom to the east and south- 
east as far as Fiji and New Caledonia; (3) Indonesia, which 
includes all the islands often spoken of as the East Indies, and 
extends from the Moluccas on the east to Sumatra on the west, 
and from Java and Timor in the south to the northern ex- 
tremity of the Philippines; (4) Micronesia, composed, as its 
name implies, mainly of small islands, and occupying the area 


north of Melanesia and east of the 130th meridian of east longi- 
tude; and lastly (5), but by no means least in importance, 
Australia, together with Tasmania. 

As compared with all the other great divisions of the world, 
Oceania is unique in that, if we exclude Australia (which, al- 
though an island, is so enormous in size as to lose all insular 
characteristics), it is composed wholly of islands. These vary 
in size from mere reefs or islets, only a mile or so in diameter, 
to great land masses, like New Zealand or Borneo, whose 
areas are to be measured by hundreds of thousands of square 
miles. Some are low coral atolls elevated only a few feet above 
the surface of the sea; others are volcanic and mountainous, 
their summits rising into the realms of perpetual snow. Al- 
though the greater part of Oceania lies within the tropics and 
has the usual features of tropical environment In the way of 
climate, flora, and fauna, it extends here and there far into the 
temperate zone, and the snowy New Zealand Alps, with their 
huge glaciers, suggest Switzerland and Norway rather than 
anything else. In New Guinea, Borneo, and (to a less degree) 
in a few other islands the same great contrast in environment 
is produced by elevation alone, and one may thus pass from 
the barren peaks and snows of the highest ranges down through 
all the intermediate stages to the hot tropical jungle and fever- 
laden swamps of the coasts. Australia, in its vast expanses of 
terrible deserts, again presents a striking contrast to the other 
parts of the area, although one of a different sort. 

The native peoples of the Oceanic area are almost as varied 
as are its natural features and environment. Some, like the 
recently discovered New Guinea pygmies or the now extinct 
Tasmanians, serve as examples of the lowest stages known in 
human culture. With their black skins, ugly faces, and short 
woolly hair they are in striking contrast to the often little more 
than brunette Polynesians, with their voluptuously beautiful 
forms and faces and long, wavy hair, or to the lithe, keen-faced, 
straight-haired Malay, both of whom attained to no mean 


development on the material as well as on the intellectual 
side of their respective cultures. 

The origin, evolution, and affiliation of the various peoples 
of Oceania is a problem whose complexity becomes more and 
more apparent with Increasing knowledge. While anthropol- 
ogists are still far from satisfactorily explaining these matters, 
it is patent to all that the ethnic history of the region involves 
the recognition of a series of waves of migration from the west- 
ward, each spreading itself more or less completely over its 
predecessors, modifying them, and in turn modified by them, 
until the result is a complex web, the unravelling of which leads 
us inevitably back to the Asiatic mainland. It is obvious that, 
while migrations on land are not necessarily conditioned by 
the stage of culture of a people, in an island area, especially 
where the islands are separated by wide stretches of ocean, 
movement is Impossible, or at least very difficult, for peoples 
who have attained only the rudiments of the art of seaman- 
ship. A glance at the map will show that, so far as Indonesia, 
much of Melanesia, and Australia are concerned, the diffi- 
culties in the way of the migration of a primitive people are 
far less than in the case of Micronesia and Polynesia. In the 
former areas, indeed, some land masses now separated were in 
comparatively recent times joined together, so that migrations 
were then possible which now would be difficult for a people 
without knowledge of any means of navigation; but to reach 
the widely separated Islands farther out in the Pacific would 
have been Impossible to those unprovided with adequate 
vessels and skill to use them. Thus we are forced to assume 
that it was not until man had attained a considerably higher 
development than that shown by the Tasmanians or Austra- 
lians that these outlying and isolated parts of the Oceanic 
area could have been inhabited. It Is Indeed probable that 
they were, of all the occupied portions of the globe, the last 
to be settled. 

From what has been said It may be seen how fertile and 


fascinating a field Oceania presents to the student of anthro- 
pology. In the following pages we are concerned, however, with 
one aspect only of the whole complex of human culture, namely, 
mythology. In order to make clear the differences between 
the various portions of the area, each of the five subdivisions 
will be considered by itself alone, and also in its relation to the 
others, while, in conclusion, an attempt will be made to sum up 
these results and to point out their wider bearings. Through- 
out the purpose has been, not only to sketch the more im- 
portant types of myths, but to draw attention to resemblances 
and similarities between the myth-incidents of one area and 
another. In the present state of our knowledge the conclu- 
sions which are drawn are, it cannot be too strongly empha- 
sized, only tentative — they must stand or fall according as 
they are substantiated or disproved by further material, both 
mythological and other. 

A word may be said in regard to the method of treatment 
and point of view here adopted. In indicating similarities 
and suggesting possible relationships, individual incidents in 
myths have been largely taken as the basis. The author is 
well aware how easily such a method may lead to wild and im- 
possible conclusions; the literature of mythology and folk-lore 
aifords only too many examples of such amazing discoveries; 
but where caution is observed, and due regard is paid to known 
or probable historical associations, the evidence to be derived 
from a study of the distribution of myth-incidents is often re- 
liable and corroborated by collateral information derived from 
other fields. It should also be pointed out that in the follow- 
ing pages we have endeavoured to present only the myths them- 
selves, and have purposely refrained from all attempts at 
rationalizing them or explaining this as a lunar, that as a solar, 
myth. Such attempts are, we believe, almost wholly futile in 
the present state of our knowledge of Oceanic mythology, 
culture, and history. A dextrous imagination can evolve either 
a lunar or a solar explanation for any myth, and one needs to 


have but little personal experience with native peoples to 
realize how hopeless it is for the civilized inquirer to predicate 
what the symbolism of anything really is to the native mind. 
The study of mythology has, in the last few years, also demon- 
strated to what a degree all myths are in a state of flux, new 
elements and incidents being borrowed and incorporated into 
old tales and modified to accord with local beliefs and predis- 
positions. Thus, what starts out, perhaps, as a solar incident 
may come to be embodied in another myth of quite different 
origin, and in so doing may wholly lose its former significance; 
or an entire myth, originally accounting for one thing, may 
become so modified by transmission that its first meaning 
becomes lost. 

Lastly, we may again point out that at present the available 
material is still so imperfect that all conclusions must be ac- 
cepted with reserve. Not only are there large areas from which 
no data whatever have been collected (and even some from 
which, owing either to the extinction of the population or their 
greatly changed manner of life, none can ever be obtained), 
but very little, comparatively, of what has been gathered has 
been recorded in the language of the people themselves. Mis- 
understandings, conscious or unconscious colouring of state- 
ments to accord with preconceived ideas of what the people 
ought to think, statements made by natives who obligingly tell 
the investigator just what they think he wants to hear — these 
and other sources of error must be eliminated so far as possible 
before we can be sure of our ground. In spite of all this, how- 
ever, it is worth while to take account of stock, as it were, and 
to see, as well as we can, where we stand. By so doing we may 
at least recognize the gaps in our knowledge and be spurred 
on to try to fill them while yet there is time. 





THAT portion of Oceania whose mythology is both most 
widely known and to which reference is most frequently 
made is undoubtedly Polynesia. One of the chief reasons for 
this lies in the character of the legends themselves, for they 
are both pleasing and in many respects unusual. We may 
well begin then with Polynesia in presenting an outline of 
Oceanic mythology. 

The people of these Happy Isles have, from the beginning, 
been of great interest to anthropologists; but although much 
has been learned regarding them, the problems of their origin 
and ethnic history are still far from being settled. Most stu- 
dents of the subject, however, are now agreed that in the 
Polynesians we must see a somewhat complex blending of 
several waves of immigration, bringing relatively fair-skinned 
peoples from the Indonesian area (or perhaps from still far- 
ther west) eastward through Melanesia into the Pacific. That 
there have been at least two, and probably more, such great 
waves, and that these have in varying degree mixed with the 
dark-skinned people of Melanesia in transit, seems clear; but 
whether other racial elements also enter into the question is 
not yet certain. Although older and younger waves are prob- 
ably represented in all the island-groups of Polynesia, the 
oldest seems especially noticeable in two of the most outlying 
portions of the whole region, i. e. New Zealand and Hawaii. 
The detailed study of the spread of these waves can as yet 
however be said only to have begun. 


IN considering the mythology of these peoples it will be most 
convenient to begin with the cosmogonic myths, for these 
are not only in themselves very interesting, as presenting un- 
usual features, but also show, in an unmistakable manner, the 
composite character of the mythology as a whole. It is usual 
to speak of the Polynesian origin-myths as if they formed a 
substantially uniform system, to comment on their rather sur- 
prisingly philosophic aspect, and to indulge in somewhat vague 
theorizing in an attempt to explain conditions and the pecu- 
liar resemblances to the myths of other parts of the world. 
When, however, careful study and comparison of the avail- 
able material are made, it is clear that the problem is by no 
means as simple as it looks at first sight, and that we have 
here one of the most interesting of all fields for mythologic 

Comparing the various myths and myth fragments in which 
the cosmogonic ideas of the Polynesians have been preserved, 
it appears that these may be separated quite easily into two 
types : one (usually assumed to be the normal or only form) in 
which we have what may be called a genealogical or evolu- 
tionary development of the cosmos and the gods from an 
original chaos; the other, in which there is a more or less defi- 
nite act of creation by a deity or deities. To make clear the 
differences between these two types and to define the problem 
raised by the presence of these two contrasted sets of beliefs, 
it will be advisable to consider the two groups of myths 


The Ge7iealogical or Evolutionary Type. — Omitting for the 
moment such variations as exist between the versions current 
in the different islands, the essential elements of this form of 
the myth may be stated as follows. In the beginning there 
was nothing but Po, a void or chaos, without light, heat, 
or sound, without form or motion. Gradually vague stirrings 
began within the darkness, moanings and whisperings arose, 
and then at first, faint as early dawn, the light appeared and 
grew until full day had come. Heat and moisture next de- 
veloped, and from the interaction of these elements came sub- 
stance and form, ever becoming more and more concrete, until 
the solid earth and overarching sky took shape and were per- 
sonified as Heaven Father and Earth Mother. At this point, 
as a rule, the evolutionary sequence stops and all further 
things, both natural phenomena and all the myriad gods, are 
the offspring of bright Heaven by Earth or some other female 

This conception of a self-evolving cosmos, of a universe de- 
clared by some to be only the body or shell of a great primal 
cause, is a most surprising one to find among a people upon 
the plane of culture in which the Polynesians were living at 
the time of their discovery. As an explanation of the riddle of 
the universe, and as a philosophic system, it would seem far 
more appropriate to early Greek or Hindu speculation; and 
indeed, in the form which was preserved in Hawaii, we really 
find an extraordinary echo of the doctrines of early Hellas 
and India; while the resemblances to Scandinavian mythology 
are also striking. Before attempting, however, to discuss the 
origin of these beliefs in Polynesia, it will be necessary to con- 
sider somewhat more in detail the varied forms which they 
take in the different island groups within the Polynesian 

As pointed out above,^ New Zealand presents us with what 
is, in many respects, one of the oldest and simplest forms of 
Polynesian culture, and we may, therefore, well begin a con- 


sideratlon of the origin-myths by examining those found in 
this extreme south-western corner of the Polynesian area. 
From New Zealand a number of versions have been recorded, 
the forms traditional among different tribes being often quite 
variable. A comparatively brief account is given by the Nga- 
i-tahu of the South Island. "Po begat Te-ao (light), who 
begat Ao-marama (daylight), who begat Ao-tu-roa (long-stand- 
ing light), who begat Kore-te-whiwhia (did not possess), who 
begat Kore-te-rawea (was not pleased with), who begat Kore- 
te-tamaua (was not held), who begat Kore-te-matua (without 
parent), who begat Maku (damp). Maku took to wife Ma- 
hora-nui-a-tea (great spreading out of light) and begat Raki 
(Rangi)." After this Rangi, by various wives (whose origins 
are seldom recorded), begat a great number of descendants, 
many of them deities; and one of these spouses was originally 
the wife of Tangaroa, the sea-god of whose provenance little 
is said. Angered by her faithlessness, Tangaroa attacked 
Rangi and wounded him in the thigh with a spear.^ 

It will be seen at once why the term "genealogical" has been 
applied to this class of origin-myths, the successive stages in 
the development of the cosmos being individualized and per- 
sonified and each being regarded as the offspring of the next 
preceding. A different, and in some ways more interesting, 
version of creation from recorded the New Zealand region is 
as follows: ^ 


The Void 

Te Kore-tua-tahi . . 

The First Void 

Te Kore-tua-rua . . 

The Second Void 

Te Kore-nui .... 

The Vast Void 

Te Kore-roa .... 

The Far-Extending Void 

Te Kore-para . . . 

The Sere Void 

Te Kore-whiwhia . . 

The Unpossessing Void 

Te Kore-rawea . . . 

The Delightful Void ^ 

Te Kore-te-tamaua . 

The Void Fast Bound 


The Night 

Te Po-teki 

The Hanging Night 

Te Po-terea .... 

. The Drifting Night 


Te Po-whawha 
Te Po . . . . 
TeAta . . . 
Te Ao-tu-roa . 
Te Ao-marama 
Whai-tua . . 

The Moaning Night 
The Daughter of Troubled Sleep 
The Night 
The Dawn 
The Abiding Day 
The Bright Day- 

In Whai-tua two existences without shape were formed: 
Maku ("Moisture"), a male; and Mahora-nui-a-rangi ("Great 
Expanse of Heaven"), a female; and from these sprang Rangi- 
potiki ("The Heavens"), who took to wife Papa ("Earth") 
and begat the gods. The sequence here, leading from the orig- 
inal undifferentiated void through various stages of darkness 
and light to space, in which the parents of the bright sky took 
form, illustrates at once the dual character of this type of 
myth; for here we find both the idea of progressive develop- 
ment and the individualization of the successive stages in this 
evolution as a genealogic series. 

One more example of this type may be given: ^ 

"From the conception the increase 
From the increase the swelling 
From the swelling the thought 
From the thought the remembrance 
From the remembrance the consciousness, the desire. 
The word became fruitful : 
It dwelt with the feeble glimmering 
It brought forth night; 
The great night, the long night, 
The lowest night, the loftiest night, 
The thick night, the night to be felt, 
The night touched, the night unseen. 
The night following on, 
The night ending in death. 
From the nothing, the begetting, 
From the nothing the increase 
From the nothing the abundance. 
The power of increasing, the living breath; 
It dwelt with the empty space. 
It produced the atmosphere which is above us. 
The atmosphere which floats above the earth, 


The great firmament above us, 

The spreadout space dwelt with the early dawn, 

Then the moon sprang forth; 

The atmosphere above dwelt with the glowing sky, 

Forthwith was produced the sun, 

They were thrown up above as the chief eyes of Heaven : 

Then the Heavens became light, the early dawn, the early day, 

The mid-day. The blaze of day from the sky. 

The sky which floats above the earth 

Dwelt with Hawaiki." 

From these came various lands and gods.^ 

Apparently it has been generally assumed that this evolu- 
tionary, genealogical myth was entirely typical of Maori myth- 
ology; but in reality the matter is far from being so simple, 
for the New Zealand beliefs appear to be somewhat confused 
on the subject of the origin of Rangi and Papa. The version 
just outlined ascribes to Rangi a long ancestry and develop- 
ment, but other legends " allude to a primeval sea, out of which 
the earth (Papa) grew, later to be taken to wife by Rangi, 
the Sky Father. Other myths,^ 3.gain, omit all reference to an 
original chaos, and without attempting to account for Rangi 
and Papa simply assume their existence, and then go on in 
much detail to describe the birth of Rangl's various progeny 
by a series of wives, who are usually given as six.^ By the 
first, Poko-ha-rua-te-po ("Pit of the Breath of Night"), he 
had as offspring Ha-nuI-o-rangI ("Great Breath of Heaven"), 
Ta-whirl-ma-tea ("Beckoned and Desired"), and a whole 
series of winds, as w^ell as rites and incantations, all personi- 
fied. By the second, Papa-tu-a-nuku ("Flat, Resembling the 
Earth"), he was the parent of Rehua, Tane, Pala, Tu, Rongo, 
Ru, and a host of other minor deities. Now Papa-tu-a-nuku 
was the wife of Tangaroa, but had deserted him, coming to 
Rangi while Tangaroa was away. When the latter returned 
and learned of his wife's faithlessness, he attacked Rangi and 
speared him In the thigh; and during the time that the Sky 
Father was thus wounded, he begat another series of deities. 


Rangi's third wife was Heke-heke-i-papa ("Coming Down to 
Earth"), by whom he had many children, the most important 
being Tama-nui-a-rangi ("Great Son of Heaven"). By his 
fourth wife, Hotu-papa ("Sobbing Earth"), he was the father 
of a host of children, for the most part of little note, though 
Tu and Rongo again appear among them. The offspring of 
the fifth and sixth wives were unimportant. Although Rangi 
is thus said to have had various wives, a comparison of the 
different accounts would seem to emphasize the pre-eminent 
importance in the Maori mind of the Heaven Father and Earth 
Mother pair; and, indeed, some versions ^° do not seem to 
recognize any other. This conception, familiar in classical 
mythology and elsewhere, seems very characteristic of New 
Zealand, and apparently reached a higher development there 
than elsewhere in Polynesia. For the Sky Father an origin 
from the primeval night or chaos is, as we have seen, some- 
times asserted; but no explanation of the origin of the Earth 
Mother is usually thought necessary. New Zealand thus ex- 
hibits a type of cosmogony in which the evolutional element, 
although sometimes well marked, is not invariably present; and 
in which the belief in the Sky Father and the Earth Mother 
seems especially strong. The general character of the variants 
found in different versions suggests that these may be the 
result of the blending of several sets of beliefs. 

It is pretty well established that when New Zealand was 
discovered, its inhabitants were composed of two main ele- 
ments: first, the descendants of the great influx of the four- 
teenth century, who formed the bulk of the population; and 
second, some remnants of older immigrants more or less mixed 
with the earliest dwellers found there by these original in- 
vaders. Unfortunately, little attempt has been made to re- 
cover the undoubtedly older mythology of these "aborigines," 
so that we have little evidence as to what their beliefs may 
have been. Some light may be thrown on the question, how- 
ever, by the fragments recovered from the Moriori of the 


Chatham Islands, ^^ which were colonized from New Zealand 
before the coming of the historic immigration. Unhappily, 
the actual cosmogonic myths recorded from the Moriori are 
very brief, but, so far as they go they make little mention of 
the evolutionary theme, ascribing the beginning of all things 
to Rangi and Papa, of whose origin almost nothing is said.^^ 
We may, perhaps, regard this as a survival of the older New 
Zealand belief, which would thus seem to have lacked the 
evolutionary element, and we should thus be led tentatively 
to assume that this latter and more philosophic feature repre- 
sents a later development. 

Leaving Maori mythology and turning to the other island 
groups in Polynesia it is apparent that the cosmogonic myths 
current in the Marquesas present striking analogies to some 
of those in New Zealand. Here, again, in the beginning Is the 
primeval void in which "arises a swelling, a seething, a dark 
surging, a whirling, a bubbling, and a swallowing — there 
arises a whole series of supports or posts, the great and the 
small, the long and the short, the crooked and the bent — 
there arise Innumerable and endless supports. They riot in 
such contrasts and synonyms. There arises in particular the 
foundation — the firmness — there arises space and light and 
cliffs of various sorts." ^^ The evolutionary or genealogical 
character is here strongly emphasized, both In Its extent and 
Intricacy, and the series of personified abstract qualities and 
contrasts rivals, and even exceeds, the similar examples from 
New Zealand. In comparison with New Zealand, accordingly, 
there seems to be a much greater development of the evolu- 
tional, or, as it might perhaps more accurately be termed, the 
developmental, theme. The antecedents of the existing universe 
comprise a bewildering series of abstract and partially per- 
sonified, contrasted qualities; and there is an evident attempt 
to carry these, on the one hand, backward to an original, nega- 
tive void, and on the other, forward to an ultimate, primitive 
substance. In other words, we have here more of a philo- 


sophic system: In New Zealand the briefer developmental 
series led only to the personified Sky Father; here It Is the 
origin of all substance and of solid matter Itself which Is sought. 

Another version " serves as a transition to the forms found 
in the Society Group. According to this, Tanaoa and Mutuhei 
("Darkness" and "Silence") ruled supreme In the primeval 
Po. In the course of time Atea ("Light") evolved or separated 
himself from Tanaoa, and drove him away; and after this, 
Ono ("Sound") evolved himself from Atea and destroyed 
Mutuhei. From these two struggles arose Atanua ("Dawn"), 
whom Atea took to wife, and so begat a host of deities, besides 
creating the heavens and the earth. This second version In- 
troduces a new factor In the suggestion of a primeval deity, 
Tangaroa. This feature Is usually regarded as foreign to New 
Zealand mythology,^^ yet In a recent and most important con- 
tribution to our knowledge of Maori mythology ^^ there seems 
to be a clearly expressed Idea of a supreme, primeval deity, lo, 
who was before all things, and who is in the ultimate analy- 
sis the origin and creator of the universe and all the gods.^^ 

The versions given from the Society Islands accord with that 
from the Marquesas in which Tanaoa (= Tangaroa = Taaroa = 
Kanaloa) Is regarded as a deity existent from the beginning, 
but carry this ascendancy of Tanaoa considerably further. 
One text ^^ recounts the origin as follows: 

"He existed. Taaroa was his name. 
In the immensity 

There was no earth, there was no sky, 
There was no sea, there was no man. 
Taaroa calls, but nothing answers. 
Existing alone, he became the universe. 
Taaroa is the root, the rocks (foundation). 
Taaroa Is the sands. 
It is thus that he is named. 
Taaroa is the light. 
Taaroa is within. 
Taaroa is the germ. 
Taaroa is the support. 
Taaroa Is enduring. 


Taaroa is wise. 

He erected the land of Hawaii, 

Hawaii, the great and sacred. 

As a body or shell for Taaroa. 

The earth is moving. 

O, Foundations, O, Rocks, 

O, Sands, hither, hither, 

Brought hither, pressed together the earth. 

Press, press again. 

They do not unite. 

Stretch out the seven heavens, let ignorance cease. 

Create the heavens, let darkness cease. 

Let immobility cease. 

Let the period of messengers cease. 

It is the time of the speaker. 

Completed the foundations, 

Completed the rocks. 

Completed the sands. 

The heavens are enclosing, 

The heavens are raised. 

In the depths is finished the land of Hawaii." 

A second version ^^ Is Interesting In comparison with this. 
"Taaroa (whose origin Is not described) embraced a rock, the 
Imagined foundation of all things, vv^hlch afterward brought 
forth the earth and sea. . . . Soon after this, the heralds of 
day, the dark and light blue sky, appeared before Taaroa, and 
solicited a soul for his offspring — the then Inanimate universe. 
The foundation of all replied, 'It Is done,' and directed his son, 
the Sky-producer, to accomplish his will. In obedience to the 
mandate of Taaroa, his son looked up into the heavens, and 
the heavens received the power of bringing forth new skies, 
and clouds, sun, moon, and stars, thunder and lightning, rain 
and wind. He then looked downwards, and the unformed mass 
received the power to bring forth earth, mountains, rocks, 
trees, herbs, and flowers, beasts, birds, and Insects, fountains, 
rivers, and fish. Ral-tubu, or Sky-producer, then looked to the 
abyss, and Imparted to It the power to bring forth the purple 
water, rocks and corals, and all the Inhabitants of the ocean." 


It is obvious that we are now dealing with quite a different 
aspect from that with which we started. Tangaroa is here a 
sort of world soul; a self-evolving, self-existent, creative deity, 
who alone is ultimately responsible for the origin of the universe. 
The idea of a primeval, creative deity is, however, not wholly 
absent from New Zealand, as is shown by the following: ^^ 

"lo dwelt within the breathing-space of immensity. 
The Universe was in darkness, with water everywhere, 
There was no glimmer of dawn, no clearness, no light. 
And he began by saying these words, — 
That He might cease remaining inactive: 

'Darkness! become a light-possessing darkness.' 
And at once light appeared. 

(He) then repeated those self-same words in this manner, 
That He might cease remaining inactive: 

'Light! become a darkness-possessing light.' 
And again an intense darkness supervened. 
And a third time He spake, saying: 
*Let there be one darkness above. 

Let there be one darkness below (alternate), 

Let there be a darkness unto Tupua, 

Let there be a darkness unto Tawhito, 

It is a darkness overcome and dispelled. 

Let there be one light above, 

Let there be one light below (alternate), 

Let there be a light unto Tupua, 

Let there be a light unto Tawhito, 

A dominion of light, 

A bright light.' 
And now a great light prevailed. 

(lo) then looked to the waters, which compassed him about, 
And spake a fourth time, saying: 

'Ye waters of Tai-kama be ye separate 

Heaven, be formed' Then the sky became suspended. 
'Bring-forth, thou, Tupua-horo-nuku.' 
And at once the moving earth lay stretched abroad." 

The cosmogonic ideas of the inhabitants of the Cook or 
Hervey Group are not clear. The form in which they are given 
is quite divergent from that in other islands, but the account ^^ 
really gives no true cosmogony, for It describes only the origin 


of several deities. The universe, of whose beginning nothing 
is said, is pictured as a hollow shell, in form like a beet, at the 
lower extremity of which is "The Root of All Existence," 
above which comes "Breathing All Life" and the "Long- 
Lived." Next above, where the walls of the shell come to- 
gether, is Vari-ma-te-takere ("The Very Beginning"), a female 
deity who creates six other deities — Vatea (called Atea in 
the Marquesas, and Wakea in Hawaii), Tinirau ("Innumer- 
able"), Tango ("Support"), Tu-mute-anaoa ("Echo"), Raka 
("Trouble"), and Tu-metua ("Stick by the Parent"). Vatea, 
whose abode was "The Thin Land," espoused Papa ("Founda- 
tion" or "Earth"), the daughter of Tima-te-kore ("Nothing 
More"), and became the parent of the five great deities, Tang- 
aroa, Rongo, Tonga-iti, Tangiia, and Tane. The account does 
not harmonize well with any of the preceding beliefs, almost its 
only point of contact being the union of Vatea (associated with 
the light or bright sky) and Papa, and their consequent be- 
getting of the gods. It seems very probable that the real cos- 
mogonic myths of this group have not been recorded. 

Summing up the material thus far presented, it may be said 
that we have In New Zealand one form of cosmogonic myth 
which Indicates a belief in the origin, from an initial chaos, 
of a Sky-God, Rangi, who, in conjunction with Papa ( The 
Earth") and other female powers, becomes the father of gods 
and men. The accounts, as we have them, give the impres- 
sion of being somewhat fragmentary, as well as composite, 
and they represent. It may be suggested, the overlaying of an 
older stratum by the type of origin-myth which was current 
in the Cook and Society Groups in the fourteenth century — 
the time of the historic emigration from this portion of central 
Polynesia which brought to New Zealand the ancestors of the 
great bulk of the population found there at the period of its 
discovery. This central Polynesian form of myth appears to 
be strongly developed in the Marquesas also, though with some 
modifications, notably in tracing the origin of Papa more 


definitely.^^ Here, however, this type appears itself to be 
strongly modified in some versions by still another class of 
myth, that, namely, in which Tangaroa plays the part of a real 
creator. In the Society Group this feature is still more pro- 
nounced, and we have Tangaroa treated almost as a world soul, 
a deity of whom the cosmos is only a manifestation. 

One of the most curious and interesting of Polynesian cos- 
mogonic myths is that found in Hawaii, which, although differ- 
ing in several important particulars from those just outlined, 
must yet be considered as belonging to the same general type.^^ 
In the very beginning, however, a striking variation occurs, 
in that although we have the source of all things from chaos, 
it is a chaos which is simply the wreck and ruin of an earlier 
world. "And so, creation begins in the origin of a new world 
from the shadowy reflex of one that is past. . . . 

"Unsteadily, as in dim moon-shimmer, 
From out Makalii's night-dark veil of cloud 
Thrills, shadow-like, the prefiguration of the world to be."^ 

The drama of creation, according to the Hawaiian account, 
is divided into a series of stages, and In the very first of these 
life springs from the shadowy abyss and dark night. There is 
here, however, no long series of antecedent, vaguely personi- 
fied entities ranged in genealogical sequence, but the Imme- 
diate appearance of living things. At first the lowly zoophytes 
and corals come into being, and these are followed by worms 
and shellfish, each type being declared to conquer and destroy 
its predecessor, a struggle for existence In which the strongest 
survive. Parallel with this evolution of animal forms, plant 
life begins on land and in the sea — at first with the algae, fol- 
lowed by seaweeds and rushes.^^ As type follows type, the accu- 
mulating slime of their decay raises the land above the waters, 
in which, as spectator of all, swims the octopus, the lone sur- 
vivor from an earlier world. In the next period Black Night 
and Wide-Spread Night give birth to leafy plants and to in- 
sects and birds, while In the darkness the first faint glimmering 


of day appears. The sea brings forth its higher forms, such as 
the medusae, fishes, and whales; and in the dim twihght mon- 
strous forms creep in the mud. Food plants come into exist- 
ence while all nature is thrown into an uproar under the stress 
of its birth-pains. The fifth period sees the emergence of swine 
(the highest mammal known to the Hawaiian), and night be- 
comes separated from day. In the sixth, mice appear on land, 
and porpoises in the sea; the seventh period witnesses the 
development of various abstract psychic qualities, later to be 
embodied in man; while in the eighth, the turmoil and uproar 
having subsided, from peace and quiet, fructified by the light, 
which is now brilliant, woman is born, and also man, together 
with some of the higher gods. 

The principal difference between this conception — which 
is truly remarkable for a savage people — and the myths pre- 
viously outlined are fivefold: first, the derivation of the present 
world from the wreck of an earlier; second, the omission of 
much of the cosmic development, if it may so be called; third, 
the ascription of the origins of life to the earliest period of 
creation and the tracing of its evolution from lower to higher 
forms; fourth, the suggestion, at least, of the building up of 
the solid earth as due to the gradual accumulation of the 
products of decay of the first life; and, lastly, the absence of 
the Heaven Father and Earth Mother, figures which form so 
characteristic a part of the New Zealand myths. In spite of 
these divergencies, however, the fundamental idea of evolu- 
tionary sequence, as opposed to creation, is clearly marked; 
and here, as in the New Zealand myths, the gods are a product 
of, or an emanation from, the universe, rather than the pre- 
existent germ of all development. Nevertheless here, as in 
other Polynesian groups, there were several conflicting ver- 
sions of the origin-myth; and we find, among others, one ^^ in 
which a triad of gods (not including Tangaroa, however) is 
said to have "existed from and before chaos." ^^ The evolu- 
tionary myth, moreover, which has been outlined above, 


itself shows indications of a complex origin; so that in Hawaii, 
as elsewhere in Polynesia, there is evidence that the beliefs of 
the people in regard to origins are far from presenting a uni- 
form type. 

The evolutionary motive has been shown to be well developed 
both in New Zealand and in Hawaii as well as in the Mar- 
quesas; but in the West it appears to survive only in more or 
less fragmentary form, being largely overlaid and supplanted 
by other themes. In Samoa one version ^^ of the origin-myth 
begins with a genealogical series of rocks or cliffs,^® from which 
at length arises the octopus, whose children are fire and water. 
Between their descendants arises a mighty conflict, in which 
water wins and the world is destroyed by a flood only to be re- 
created by Tangaloa. This element of world-destruction and 
re-creation suggests the Hawaiian myth already outlined, but 
the evolutionary feature is here reduce4 to a mere fragment. 
Another version,^° in giving the genealogy of the Malietoa, 
or ruling chief, carries the ancestors back through a long series 
•of pairs of deities or natural phenomena to "The High Rocks" 
.and the "Earth Rocks," as follows: 


""The high rocks 
The earth 
Solid clouds 

Dew of Life 

Clouds flying about 

Quiet winds 
Cloudless heavens 
IX— 3 


The earth rocks 
High winds 
Flying clouds 

Clouds clinging to 

the heavens 
Clear heavens 

Beautiful clouds 
Spread-out heavens 

The earth 
Solid clouds 
Confused winds 
Quiet winds 
Boisterous winds 
Land beating winds 
Dew of life 
Clouds flying about 







Cloudless heavens 



In these forms we see very clearly the genealogical impulse 
and the developmental idea, but here the primeval pair is 
the solid rock rather than the formless chaos and silence of 
Marquesan and New Zealand myths. Another version ^^ re- 
calls more strongly the Hawaiian type, since it presents a succes- 
sion of forms of vegetable life following each other as offspring 
and parent, although the elaborateness and coherence of the 
Hawaiian evolution of life forms is far from being equalled. 
In the few fragments of the Tongan mythology which have 
been preserved ^^ no trace of this evolutionary theme appears. 

The Creative Type. — Turning to the second of the main 
themes shown in the origin-myths, namely, that characterized 
by belief in a more or less definite creation, notable differ- 
ences in distribution are at once apparent. In outline the 
legends of this class recount that in the beginning the gods 
dwelt in an upper sky-world, below which there was nothing 
but a wide-spread sea. Into this a deity cast a stone, which 
ultimately became the world, where, after some of the heav- 
enly beings had descended, mankind later appeared. For the 
fullest versions of this myth we must turn to Samoa,^^ on the 
western verge of the Polynesian area, where, it will be remem- 
bered, only fragments of the evolutionary theme still survive. 
From the high heavens Tangaloa saw a stone floating in the 
boundless sea beneath, and this he brought up to the skies, 
where he shaped it into human form, inspired it with life, and 
took it to wife.^^ She bore him a bird, which he sent down from 
the sky-world, casting Into the sea a great rock to serve it for 
a home. After a while the bird returned to Tangaloa, complain- 
ing of the shadeless character of the land, and so the god cast 
down a vine which grew and gave shadow, but afterward Tan- 
galoa in anger sent worms, which fed upon the vines and killed 
them, and from the worms or maggots, developed from the 
rotting vines, man was later made. In this and in other ver- 
sions from Samoa there is, as a rule, little of an actual fashion- 
ing or shaping of the world, although this element appears in 


one or two cases.^^ The important feature is the belief in a 
pre-existing world of the gods above, whence something from 
which the world is ultimately to be made is cast down into the 
universal sea below; and a further element is the appearance 
of the bird, who is the messenger or offspring of the sky-deity. 
A similar version is (or was) current in Tonga.^^ Tama-pouli- 
alamafoa ("King of Heaven"), Tangaloa-eiki ("Celestial 
Chief"), Tangaloa-tufuga ("Celestial Artisan"), and Tanga- 
loa-atu-logo-logo ("Celestial Messenger") dwelt in the heavens. 
Tangaloa, the divine messenger, was ordered to descend to this 
world to see if he could find any land, wherefore he departed 
on a bird, and after flying about for a long time descried a sand- 
bank on which the waves broke. Returning to the skies, he re- 
ported that he could find no dry land, but the lords of heaven 
said to him, "Wait for seven days, and then go back and look 
again." He did so and found the land already risen above the 
waters. Bringing back tidings of his discovery, he was again in- 
structed to wait and to look once more, for this dry land which 
he had seen was indeed the earth. Tangaloa, the divine messen- 
ger, then complained that there was no place below where he 
could rest and was told to ask Tangaloa, the divine artificer, to 
cast down chips and shavings from his work. This he did, and 
the island of Eua arose. The divine messenger again descended 
and lo, there was land which thus had fallen from the skies. 
The lords of heaven now ordered him to go and live upon this 
land, but when he had visited it he returned again to heaven 
and said, "It is a great land that I have seen, but there is in 
it no plant or tree." Then the divine chief gave him a seed, 
ordering him to plant it, and when he had done so, the seed 
germinated and grew, and a great vine arose, spreading until 
it covered all the land. 

Outside of Samoa and Tonga this form of origin-myth 
scarcely occurs, except in so far as one may perhaps detect an 
echo of it in the statement that in the beginning there was 
nothing but a wide-extending sea, on which a deity floated 


or over which he flew. Thus, in the Society Group, a myth 
fragment states: ^^ "In the beginning there was only the god 
Ihoiho.^^ Afterward there was an expanse of waters that cov- 
ered the abyss; and the god Timo-taata floated on the surface." 
Similarly, in the Marquesas we find it stated ^^ that "In the 
beginning there was only the sea, on which Tiki, a deity ex- 
isting from the first, floated in a canoe, and afterward fished 
up the land from the bottom of the ocean." These-suggest the 
Samoan versions,^" according to which Tangaroa, in the be- 
ginning, flew far and wide over the boundless waters, seeking 
a place to rest. The theme is, perhaps, still more clearly recog- 
nizable in another version from the Society Group,^^ accord- 
ing to which Taaroa existed alone in the heavens, where he 
created his daughter with whom, on the foundation of a rock 
in the sea, he made the earth, the sky, and the sea. Tongan 
mythology also refers to the primeval sea and to the realm of 
the gods far away, whence Maui sails to fish up the land of 
Tonga. '*^ This latter episode seems to represent a diff'erent 
element almost throughout Polynesia and probably should 
not be regarded as belonging to this theme.'^^ 

Still another origin-myth, which is particularly interesting 
because of its similarities, is that of the cosmic egg. A frag- 
ment of a myth from the Society Group ^* states, "In the be- 
ginning, Taaroa existed in an egg, in darkness, from which he 
later burst forth." In Hawaii another version appears, ac- 
cording to which a bird laid an egg upon the primeval waters, 
and this afterward burst of Itself and produced the world. *^ 
A somewhat similar tale has been reported from New Zealand 
also,^^ according to which a great bird flew over the primeval 
sea and dropped into it an egg, which burst after floating for 
some time. An old man and an old woman emerged with a 
canoe, and after they had entered it — together with a boy 
and a girl, one carrying a dog, the other a pig — it drifted to 
land in New Zealand. The resemblance shown to Hindu cos- 
mogonic ideas is not a little striking, and leads to possible con- 


elusions of importance regarding the period of Polynesian 
migrations, since, if this similarity be regarded as too great to 
be explained otherwise than by actual transmission, we should 
have evidence that the last wave of Polynesian immigrants 
must have left the Indonesian area at least as late as the first 
or second century a. d., by which time Indian civilization had 
become established in Java. Such a migration, coming Into 
central Polynesia, might have brought this, together with other 
elements, which later were distributed north to Hawaii and 
south to New Zealand before the period of wide contact came 
to an end in the twelfth or thirteenth centuries. 

The simple statement that the heavens and the earth, sun, 
moon, plants, and animals were all made or created by some 
deity is found in one form or other In every Polynesian group,'*^ 
and while such a declaration is not so significant as the more 
detailed forms, yet it serves to Indicate a distinctly different 
conception from what has been called the "evolutionary" 

From the materials at present available It would appear 
that we may with reasonable certainty draw the conclusion 
that the cosmogonic myths of the Polynesian people are based 
on at least two themes, one of which may be called the evolu- 
tionary or genealogical, and the other the creative. The rela- 
tive Importance and geographic distribution of these two con- 
trasted themes have, moreover, been shown to differ In that 
the former seems best developed in New Zealand and Hawaii 
and Is largely modified or overlaid by the second In central 
and western Polynesia. This latter, although It Is found almost 
everywhere in its simple contrast of creation as opposed to 
evolution, presents an altogether special form In Samoa, and 
perhaps also In the Marquesas and Society Groups. The 
evolutionary or genealogical element In Polynesian legends 
has always attracted attention, and to a certain extent the 
Inborn Interest in genealogy shown by all Polynesians Is prob- 
ably responsible for the growth of this side of the mythology. 


Everywhere chiefs, as well as common people, preserved lists 
of their ancestors extending back for many generations, and 
in the case of the chiefs a divine descent was claimed. To a 
people so infused with this genealogical habit the ascription 
of an ancestry not only to the gods, but to the world and to 
all natural phenomena, was not an illogical step. Other factors, 
however, also entered into the problem, for from the char- 
acter of most of these primitive ancestral pairs it is clear that 
the Polynesian mind had something of a philosophic turn, 
and that it groped about for a real cause or beginning, seeking 
to derive the concrete and tangible from the abstract and in- 

It has been most ingeniously suggested *^ that the peculiar 
environment of the Polynesians had much to do with the de- 
velopment of their special type of cosmogony. Living, as they 
did, isolated on small islands in the midst of a wide-reaching 
expanse of ocean — with the contrast between the immobility 
and changelessness of their little lands and the ever-moving, 
ever-changing sea always before them — it would not be sur- 
prising if they were led to try to account for this stability in 
the midst of universal flux on some such basis as that which 
we actually find. On that theory it is evident that this type 
of cosmogonic myth would be said to be a strictly local product 
of the environment in which the Polynesians dwelt; but, on 
the other hand, there is not a little evidence that the germs, 
at least, of this type were present among the original immi- 
grants. Theoretically, a quite different solution of the problem 
might be proposed, based on real or fancied resemblance to 
Hindu speculation. On this basis it might be argued, as pre- 
viously in regard to the cosmic egg, that the last immigrant 
groups to reach Polynesia from the West did not leave the In- 
donesian region until after this had been influenced by Indian 
culture, already strong in south-eastern Asia at the beginning 
of our era; and although this theory meets with several serious 
difficulties, it must, nevertheless, be taken into consideration. 


Further discussion of the question of possible Indian influence 
in Polynesia may, however, best be reserved for the final esti- 
mate of Oceajiic mythology as a whole. Critical considera- 
tion and comparison of the creation theme must also be left 
until the Indonesian myths have been discussed, for this type, 
especially In the particular form in which it appears in Samoa 
and Tonga, is widely distributed In the more westerly area — • 
a region in which, moreover, the proximate origin of the Poly- 
nesian peoples must be sought. 

The myths thus far considered have been those which were 
concerned only with the source of the world; we have now to 
deal with those which describe the origin of man. As before, 
we may recognize more than one type of myth. There is, first, 
the form according to which the ancestors of mankind were 
directly created by one or other of the deities. A second type 
is that where the first human being, a woman, was thus immedi- 
ately created by a deity and subsequently taken to wife by him, 
so that man, as his descendant. Is thus In origin half divine. 
Related to this is a third form, where man is said to be the 
direct offspring of the deities, and so wholly divine. Lastly, 
we have the types in which human beings are thought to be 
the result of a sort of evolutionary process, developing from 
worms, which are shaped and moulded into human form. 

Maori mythology offers examples of the type which as- 
cribes the origin of man to direct creation. According to one 
verslon,^^ Tane desired to make man, so he formed a model of 
earth. "The arms stood forth, and the head, and the feet, and 
the thighs, and the whole body; and all were fashioned to 
the design he had formed in his mind — made to resemble the 
body of man. He patted it with his hands into form from the 
soil of Hawaiki. When he had completed it, he raised it up 
and stood it erect . . . Tiki or Tiki-au-a-ha was the name Tane 
gave to the form he made of the earth, which was the first in- 
habitant of the world." Tane next meditated how he could 
make a woman who should be a companion to Tiki-au-a-ha, 


so he again modelled the soil of Hawaiki and prayed, and lo- 
wahine was produced. Then he ordered her to live with Tiki 
as his wife, and by them all the world was peopled/^ Accord- 
ing to other versions, however, it was Tiki himself who, as a 
deity, made the first man of red clay or of clay mixed with his 
own blood. ^^ 

In Hawaii we also find the myth of the direct creation of 
man. Here it was said ^^ that the three great gods, Kane, Ku, 
and Lono, formed man of red earth and the spittle of the gods, 
shaping him In the likeness of Kane; and having made the 
image, they breathed into It, calling on it to rise, and It became 
alive. The ensuing episode of the creation of the first woman 
from one of the man's ribs Is clearly the result of missionary 
contact. A similar tale Is given from Tahitl,^^ where, however, 
Taaroa is the creative deity. 

The second type of myth, that, namely, which recounts the 
creation of a female human being and her marriage to her crea- 
tor, is found in numerous versions. One from New Zealand runs 
thus:^^ "Some time after this Tane desired to have his mother 
Papa for his wife. But Papa said, ' Do not turn your inclination 
towards me, for evil will come to you. Go to your ancestor Mu- 
muhango.' So Tane took Mumuhango to wife, who brought 
forth the totara-tree. Tane returned to his mother dissatisfied, 
and his mother said, 'Go to your ancestor HIne-tu-a-maunga 
(=the mountain maid).' So Tane took Hine-tu-a-maunga to 
wife, who conceived, but did not bring forth a child. Her ofi^- 
spring was the rusty water of mountains, and the monster rep- 
tiles common to mountains. Tane was displeased, and returned 
to his mother. Papa said to him, 'Go to your ancestor Ranga- 
hore.' So Tane went, and took that female for a wife, who 
brought forth stone. This greatly displeased Tane, who again 
went back to Papa. Then Papa said, 'Go to your ancestor 
Ngaore (=the tender one).' Tane took Ngaore to wife. And 
Ngaore gave birth to the toetoe (a species of rush-like grass). 
Tane returned to his mother In displeasure. She next advised 


him, *Go to your ancestor Pakotl.' Tane did as he was bid, 
but Pakoti only brought forth harekeke {= Phormium tenax). 
Tane had a great many other wives at his mother's bidding, 
but none of them pleased him, and his heart was greatly 
troubled, because no child was born to give birth to Man; so 
he thus addressed his mother — 'Old lady, there will never be 
any progeny for me.' Thereupon Papa said, *Go to your an- 
cestor, Ocean, who is grumbling there in the distance. When 
you reach the beach at Kura-waka, gather up the earth in the 
form of man.' So Tane went and scraped up the earth at Kura- 
waka. He gathered up the earth, the body was formed, and 
then the head, and the arms; then he joined on the legs, and 
patted down the surface of the belly, so as to give the form of 
man; and when he had done this, he returned to his mother, 
and said, *The whole body of the man is finished.' . . . Then 
he named this female form Hine-ahu-one (=the earth formed 

Tane took Hine-ahu-one to wife. She first gave birth to Tiki- 
tohua — the egg of a bird from which have sprung all the birds 
of the air. After that, Tiki-kapakapa was born — a female. 
Then first was born for Tane a human child. 

From another of the Maori tribes a briefer form is given.^^ 
Tane took a tree to wife, but his ofi"spring were trees, not 
men. He went, therefore, and took mud, and mixing it with 
sand upon the beach of Hawaiki, he made a figure of a woman 
from it. When he had formed her, he laid her down, covered 
her with garments, breathed into her mouth and left her; but 
after a while he returned, and found her moving and shaking 
and gazing on this side and Jon that to observe all that she 
could see. Looking behind her, she beheld Tane and laughed, 
so he put out his hand and took her, and made her his wife.^^ 
A similar tale is found in the Society Group,^^ according to 
which Tii made a woman from the earth at Atl-auru and dwelt 
with her, thus becoming the parent of a daughter, from whom 
and Tii-maaraatai all men are descended. Some form of this 


story seems also to have been current in the Marquesas,^^ where 
again it is Tiki who thus creates a wife for himself from the 
sands of the shore. 

A belief in the direct descent of man from the gods seems 
not to be so clearly or explicitly stated in the Maori myths, 
although references to this type do occur.^^ In the Cook 
Group, ^° three sons of Rongo are said to be the ancestors of all 
the peoples of Mangaia, though we are not told of the divine 
origin of their wives. The Marquesans ^^ appear also to have 
had a similar belief, since mankind was derived from Til-tapu 
(the son of Til, who was a descendant of Atea and Atanua) 
and Hina-ua. 

Legends of this sort were current in Hawaii as well.^^ In the 
long cosmogonic myth or chant already mentioned in speaking 
of the evolutionary type of creation-myths in Hawaii, man- 
kind, like the greater gods themselves, is the direct offspring of 
the Bright Light and Pleasant Quiet,^^ for the female being of 
cosmic origin thus engendered is the parent both of gods and 
of Kil (= Tii = Tiki) , the ancestor of all men by incestuous union 
with his mother. Another version ®* of what is apparently the 
same myth states that La'i-la'i, the first female being, was be- 
gotten of Po or Chaos. "The King who Opens the Heavens " 
(evidently a sky-deity), looking down, beheld her, and de- 
scending, took her to wife, and from these two all men are 
derived. ^^ 

The most detailed form of the myth is, however, that from 
Tahiti. ^^ HIna, the daughter-wife of Taaroa said to him, " ' What 
shall be done, how shall man be obtained.'' Behold, classed 
or fixed are the gods of the po, or state of night, and there 
are no men.' Taaroa . . . answered, 'Go on the shore to the 
interior, to your brother.' Hina answered, 'I have been inland, 
and he Is not.' Taaroa then said, 'Go to the sea, perhaps he 
is on the sea; or if on the land, he will be on the land.' . . . When 
the goddess had departed, Taaroa ruminated within himself as 
to the means by which man should be formed, and went to the 


land, where he assumed the appearance and substance which 
should constitute man. Hina, returning from her unsuccessful 
search . . . met him, but not knowing him said, 'Who are 
you ? ' ' I am Tii-maaraatai,' he replied. * Where have you been .? ' 
said the goddess. 'I have sought you here, and you were not; 
I went to the sea to look for Tii-maaraatai, and he was not.' 
*I have been here in my house, . . . 'answered Tii-maaraatai, 
'and, behold you have arrived, my sister, come to me.' Hina 
said, 'So it is you who are my brother; let us live together.' 
They became man and wife, and the son that Hina afterward 
bore they called Tii. He was the first-born of mankind." 

A comparison of these various myths of the origin of man- 
kind shows the presence of no little confusion. Tiki or Tii is 
at once the first man, and the creator or progenitor of man; 
other myths do not speak of the first woman made by Tane 
as human, but as a deity, whose descendant, Hine-nui-a-te-po, 
becomes the guardian and goddess of the underworld; and 
many or most of the characters in the myths are nothing more 
than thinly disguised personifications of natural phenomena. 
All this obviously implies a confusion of the human and the 
divine — theories of actual creation, influenced by the deep- 
seated desire to trace ancestry back to a divine source. 

A transition to the last type of myths explaining the origin 
of the human race is afforded, in some senses, by a legend from 
New Zealand which apparently ascribes an independent 
origin to man. According to this," "an aquatic plant growing 
in swamps was the male procreating power which engendered 
the red clay seen in landslips, whence came the first man. 
This man was discovered by one of the gods before light had 
dawned on this world." 

" Seeking, earnestly seeking in the gloom. 
Searching — yes, on the coastline — 
On the bounds of light of day. 
Looking into night 
Night had conceived 
The seed of night. 


The heart, the foundation of night, 

Had stood forth self-existing 

Even in the gloom. 

It grows in gloom — 

The sap and succulent parts, 

The life pulsating, 

And the cup of life. 

The shadows screen 

The faintest gleam of light. 

The procreating power, 

The ecstasy of life first known, 

And joy of issuing forth, 

From silence into sound. 

Thus the progeny 

Of the Great extending 

Filled the heaven's expanse; 

The chorus of life 

Rose and swelled 

Into ecstasy. 

Then rested in 

Bliss of calm and quiet." ^ 

Inasmuch as the "man" thus discovered was the grand- 
father of him who separated heaven and earth, it is obvious 
that here again we have a confusion of terms, and that this 
man was not regarded as an ordinary human being in any 
sense, for his exploits are those of gods — exploits, indeed, 
expressly attributed to Tane and other deities in variant myths. 

In the comparison of the legends of the origin of the world 
it has been seen that Samoa presented special features, and in 
its most generally received version of the provenance of man 
it shows a similar individuality and offers the best form of the 
last of the types of myths relating to human origins. Accord- 
ing to the Samoan tale, after Tangaroa had created the world 
by casting down a rock from heaven and had sent earth and 
creeping plants to cover it and give it shade, these vines died 
or were killed, and from the worms which killed them or into 
which their rotting stalks were changed man either developed 
or was made.^^ 

"The earliest traditions of the Samoans describe a time when 


the heavens alone were Inhabited, and the earth covered over 
with water. Tangaloa, the great Polynesian Jupiter, then sent 
down his daughter in the form of a bird called the turi (a snipe), 
to search for a resting-place. After flying about for a long time, 
she found a rock partially above the surface of the water. . . . 
Turi went up and told her father that she had found but one 
spot on which she could rest. Tangaloa sent her down again to 
visit the place. She went to and fro repeatedly, and every time 
she went up reported that the dry surface was extending on 
all sides. He then sent her down with some earth and a creep- 
ing plant, as all was barren rock. She continued to visit the 
earth and return to the skies. Next visit, the plant was spread- 
ing. Next time, it was withered and decomposing. Next visit. 
It swarmed with worms. And the next time, the worms had 
become men and women!" 

It should be noted that, according to one of these versions, 
when man was first made or evolved from the worms, he was 
"formless," the meaning apparently being that he did not 
yet have human shape. Outside of Samoa this myth does not 
occur in just this form, but In Tonga we find a tale ^^ describ- 
ing the origin of man from worms scratched out of the sand 
by the sandpiper and left to rot in the sun. It was this bird 
which was the daughter of Taaroa in the Samoan myths, and 
which, in one version, brought to Taaroa the worms developed 
from the rotting vines that he might make them into man. 
Elsewhere in Polynesia we find little trace of this story, unless 
the fact that in the Society Group ^^ the first men were said 
to have been originally like a ball, their legs and arms being 
afterward pulled out, may be taken as comparable to the 
Samoan idea of an originally formless being.'^^ We shall see 
later that this conception of an amorphous being, afterward 
becoming human In shape, was also characteristic in parts of 
Indonesia and Australia. 

Reference must be made to one other myth of the origin of 
mankind which, like the last. Is confined to narrow limits, 


but whose affiliations run in quite a different direction. In the 
Chatham Islands (whose population, it will be remembered, 
represents largely a pre-Maori people) a myth has been re- 
corded ^' which states that man originated miraculously from 
a clot of blood placed by two deities in a hollow tree. Else- 
where in Polynesia mankind is not ascribed to such a prove- 
nance, but in Samoa "^^ it is given in several myths as the mode 
of origin of minor deities. It is, however, a wide-spread myth 
of the source of mankind or of individual human beings in 
various parts of Melanesia "^^ and would thus seem to suggest 
an early Melanesian element in western Polynesia and the 
Chatham Islands. An origin-myth of a still different sort is 
that found in the little island of Nieue, which lies between 
Tonga and the Cook Group, according to which the first man 
was born from a tree; ^^ and perhaps a trace of this same idea 
may be seen in the New Zealand myth ^^ of Tane marrying a 
tree which gave birth to living beings and minor deities. 

In discussing the legends relating to the origin of the world 
it has already been pointed out that analysis reveals com- 
plexity, and that comparison suggests relationship beyond 
the limits of Polynesia. It is equally clear that in the accounts 
given of the origin of man there is an equally complex series 
with similar suggestions of affiliation far afield. This diversity 
in type within the Polynesian area, and the wide ramification 
of similarities in the areas lying farther west, will, as we pro- 
ceed, be found to be no less characteristic of almost all portions 
of Polynesian mythology. 

In a previous section it has been shown how, among the 
Maori, an evolutionary or genealogical type of cosmogonic 
myth led up to the conception of a Sky Father and Earth 
Mother who were the parents of a great group of deities and 
even (in some versions) of man himself. We must follow this 
concept onward and trace the further experiences of the divine 
pair. According to the New Zealand belief, Rangi, the Sky 
Father, felt love for Papa-tu-a-nuku ("The Earth"), who lay be- 


neath him, so he came down to Papa. At that time "absolute 
and complete darkness prevailed; there was no sun, no moon, 
no stars, no clouds, no light, no mist — no ripples stirred the 
surface of ocean; no breath of air, a complete and absolute 
stillness." ^^ And Rangi set plants and trees to cover the naked- 
ness of Papa, for her body was bare, placing Insects of all 
kinds appropriate to the various sorts of vegetation, and giv- 
ing their stations to the shellfish and the crabs and various 
sorts of living things. Then Rangi clave unto Papa, the Earth 
Mother, and held her close In his embrace, and as he lay thus 
prone upon Papa, all his offspring of gods which were born to 
him, both great and small, ^^ were prisoned beneath his mighty 
form and lived cramped and herded together In darkness. 
"Because Rangi-nul over-laid and completely covered Papa- 
tua-nuku, the growth of all things could not mature, nor 
could anything bear fruit; . . . they were in an unstable condi- 
tion, floating about the Ao-pourl [the world of darkness], and 
this was their appearance: some were crawling, . . . some were 
upright with arms held up, . . . some lying on their sides, . . . 
some on their backs, some were stooping, some with their 
heads bent down, some with legs drawn up, . . . some kneel- 
ing, . . . some feeling about In the dark, . . . they were all 
within the embrace of Rangi and Papa." ^° So for a long time 
the gods dwelt in darkness, but at last the desire came to them 
to better their condition, and for this purpose they planned to 
lift Rangi on high. The version of this myth of the raising of 
the sky, given by Sir George Grey,^^ Is one of the classics of 
Polynesian mythology, and deserves to be quoted almost In 

"Darkness then rested upon the heaven and upon the 
earth, and they still both clave together, for they had not yet 
been rent apart; and the children they had begotten were ever 
thinking amongst themselves what might be the difference 
between darkness and light; they knew that beings had multi- 
plied and increased, and yet light had never broken upon them. 


but it ever continued dark. ... At last the beings who had 
been begotten by Heaven and Earth, worn out by the con- 
tinued darkness, consulted among themselves, saying, 'Let us 
now determine what we should do with Rangi and Papa, 
whether it would be better to slay them or to rend them apart.' 
Then spake Tu-matauenga, the fiercest of the children of 
Heaven and Earth, 'It is well, let us slay them.' 

"Then spake Tane-mahuta, the father of forests and of all 
things that inhabit them, or that are constructed from trees, 
*Nay, not so. It is better to rend them apart, and to let the 
heaven stand far above us, and the earth lie under our feet. 
Let the sky become a stranger to us, but the earth remain 
close to us as our nursing mother.' 

"The brothers all consented to this proposal, with the ex- 
ception of Tawhiri-ma-tea, the father of winds and storms, 
and he, fearing that his kingdom was about to be overthrown, 
grieved greatly at the thought of his parents being torn apart. 
Five of the brothers willingly consented to the separation of 
their parents, but one of them would not agree to it. . . . 

But at length their plans having been agreed on, lo, Rongo- 
ma-tane, the god and father of the cultivated food of man, rises 
up, that he may rend apart the heavens and the earth; he strug- 
gles, but he rends them not apart. Lo, next Tangaroa, the god 
and father of fish and reptiles rises up, that he may rend apart 
the heavens and the earth, but he rends them not apart. Lo, 
next Haumia-tikitiki, the god and father of the food of man 
which springs up without cultivation, rises up and struggles, 
but ineffectually. Lo, then, Tu-matauenga, the god and 
father of fierce human beings, rises up and struggles, but he, 
too, fails in his efforts. Then, at last, slowly uprises Tane- 
mahuta, the god and father of forests, of birds, and of Insects, 
and he struggles with his parents; in vain he strives to rend 
them apart with his hands and arms. Lo, he pauses; his head 
is now firmly planted on his mother the earth, his feet he raises 
up and rests against his father the skies, he strains his back and 


limbs with mighty effort. Now are rent apart Rangi and Papa, 
and with cries and groans of wo they shriek aloud, 'Where- 
fore slay you thus your parents? Why commit you so dread- 
ful a crime as to slay us, as to rend your parents apart?' But 
Tane-mahuta pauses not, he regards not their shrieks and 
cries; far, far beneath him he presses down the earth; far, far 
above him, he thrusts up the sky. . . . 

Up to this time, the vast Heaven has still ever remained 
separated from his spouse the Earth. Yet their mutual love 
still continues — the soft warm sighs of her loving bosom still 
ever rise up to him, ascending from the woody mountains and 
valleys, and men call these mists; and the vast Heaven, as he 
mourns through the long nights his separation from his be- 
loved, drops frequent tears upon her bosom, and men seeing 
these, term them dewdrops." 

Another Maori version ^^ introduces several other elements. 
"Raki, though speared by Takaroa, still adhered to the top 
of Papa; and Raki said to Tane and his younger brothers, 
*Come and kill me, that men may live.' Tane said, 'O old 
man! how shall we kill you?' Raki said, *0 young man! lift 
me up above, that I may stand separate; that your mother 
may lie apart from me, that light may grow on you all.' Then 
Tane said to Raki, 'O old man! Rehua shall carry you.' Raki 
answered Tane and his younger brothers, 'O young men! do 
not let me be carried by your elder brothers only, lest my eyes 
become dim. Rather all of you carry me above, that I may 
be elevated, that light may dawn on you.' Tane said to him, 
'Yes, old man! your plan is right — that light may grow 
into day.' Raki said to Tane, 'It is right, O Tane! that I be 
taken and killed (separated from my wife), that I may be- 
come a teacher to you and your younger brothers, and show 
you how to kill. If I die, then will light and day be in the 
world.' Tane was pleased with the reasons why his father 
wished them to kill him; and hence Tane said to another branch 

of the offspring of Raki . . . 'Tread on Papa, tread her down; 
IX — 4 


and prop up Raki, lift him up above . . . that the eyes of Raki, 
who is standing here, may be satisfied.' . . . Now, this was the 
origin of the heaven. It was made by Tane and admired by 
him, and he uttered the words of his prayer to aid Rehua to 
carry their father above. . . . Tane now took Raki on his back; 
but he could put Raki no higher. Raki said to Tane, 'You too, 
you and your younger brother (Paia) carry me.' Then Paia 
prayed his prayer, and said: 

'Carry Raki on the back. 
Carry Papa. 

Strengthen, O big back of Paia, 
Sprained with the leap at Hua-rau.* 

Now, Raki was raised with the aid of this prayer, and spoke 
words of poroporoaki (farewell) to Papa, and said, 'O Papa! 0! 
you remain here. This will be the (token) of my love to you; 
in the eighth month I will weep for you.' Hence the origin of 
the dew, this being the tears of Raki weeping for Papa. Raki 
again said to Papa, *0 old woman! live where you are. In 
winter I will sigh for you.' This is the origin of ice. Then 
Papa spoke words of farewell to Raki, and said, 'O old man! 
go, O Raki! and in summer I also will lament for you.' Hence 
the origin of mist, or the love of Papa for Raki. 

"When the two had ended their words of farewell, Paia up- 
lifted Raki, and Tane placed his toko (pole) . . . between 
Papa and Raki. Paia did likewise with his toko. . . . Then 
Raki floated upwards, and a shout of approval was uttered 
by those up above, who said, 'O Tu of the long face, lift up 
the mountain.' Such were the words shouted by the innumer- 
able men (beings) from above in approval of the acts of Tane 
and Paia; but that burst of applause was mostly in recogni- 
tion of Tane's having disconnected the heaven, and propped 
up its sides, and made them stable. He had stuffed up the 
cracks and chinks, so that Raki was completed and fur- 
nished, light arose and day began." ^^ 

Similar but briefer versions of this same myth are found 


in the Chatham Islands/'* where the raising of the heavens 
was done hy a being called "Heaven-Propper," the sky being 
lifted upon ten pillars, set one above the other. In the Cook 
Group,^^ the raiser of the heavens was Ru. Originally the heav- 
ens were low, so low that they rested on the broad leaves of 
certain plants, and in this narrow space all the people of this 
world were pent up, but Ru sent for the gods of night and the 
gods of day to assist him in his work of raising the sky. He 
prayed to them, " Come, all of you, and help me to lift up the 
heavens." And when they came in answer to his call, he 
chanted the following song: 

"O Son! O Son! Raise my son 
Raise my son! 

Lift the Universe! Lift the Heavens! 
The Heavens are lifted, 
It is moving! 
It moves, 
It moves!" 

The heavens were raised accordingly, and Ru then chanted the 
following song to secure the heavens in their place: 

"Come, O Ru-taki-nuhu, 
Who has propped up the Heavens. 
The Heavens were fast, but are lifted. 
The Heavens were fast, but are lifted. 
Our work is completed." ^^ 

This conception, that the sky was originally low, resting on 
the leaves of plants, is also found in the Society Group," 
where Ruu is again the deity by whose aid the task of raising 
the heavens was accomplished. It likewise occurs in Samoa, ^^ 
and in somewhat similar form in the Union Group, ^® whereas 
in Hawaii the incident of the separation of heaven and earth 
is referred to but vaguely and seems to play a very insignifi- 
cant part in the beliefs of the people.^" 

It will be observed that the idea of a Sky Father and Earth 
Mother, so characteristic in New Zealand, is lacking in cen- 
tral Polynesia. What is said is merely that once the sky was 


very low, and that one of the deities raised it to its present 
position. Now this form of the myth appears in the New 
Hebrides,^^ where the heaven was said originally to have been 
so low that a woman struck it with her pestle as she was pound- 
ing food, whereupon she angrily told the sky to rise higher, 
and it did so. Almost identically the same type appears in the 
Philippines,^^ and the simple theme of raising the heavens, 
which once were low. Is frequent in several other parts of In- 
donesia ^^ as well as in the intervening area of Micronesia. ^^ 
It would seem, therefore, that the Maori form of the myth 
represents a special or locally developed form of this wide- 
spread theme, which reaches back almost without a break 
from central Polynesia to Indonesia. 

In the foregoing legends of the raising of the sky this is 
accomplished by one or other of the gods, and it is clearly a 
cosmogonic feature, especially well brought out in New Zea- 
land, as will be shown presently when the myths of the origin 
of the sun, moon, and stars are considered. The episode, how- 
ever, appears in parts of Polynesia in quite another aspect, 
i. e. as one of the exploits of the hero Maui,^^ but since the 
Maui cycle will be treated in a special chapter, discussion of 
the place of this episode in it may best be postponed for the 
present. Nevertheless, it should here be noted that whereas 
in Hawaii the theme occurs only in connexion with Maui, in 
New Zealand it is known solely as a cosmogonic myth, while 
both forms are found in central Polynesia. 

The myths of origin relating to the heavens and the earth 
having been outlined, there remain those regarding the prove- 
nance of the sun, moon, and stars, the sea, and other natural 
features. Turning again to the Maori account of the separa- 
tion of Rangi and Papa, it appears that Tane's eflforts did not 
cease with the parting of his parents, but that he sought to 
clothe and beautify them. "Tane saw that his father Raki was 
naked; so he went and obtained kura (red) to make his father 
look comely; but this did not suffice. He then went to bring 


the stars from . . . 'The Mat of Dread' and 'The Mat of the 
Sacred Holding' . . . stars were the fastenings of these mats. . . . 
Tane placed the stars on Raki in the daytime, but they were 
not beautiful; but at night his father Raki looked grand." ^^ 

The sun and moon in the Maori myth seem generally to be 
regarded as Rangi's offspring " who were later placed for 
eyes in the sky,^^ and similar beliefs prevailed in the Society 
Group ^^ and in Samoa. ^°° In che Cook Group the sun and moon 
were said to be eyes of Vatea,^°^ and other versions ^°- from this 
area give further details. According to these, Vatea and Tonga- 
iti (or Tangaroa, by one version) quarrelled as to the parent- 
age of the first-born of Papa, each claiming to be the father, 
and to settle the dispute the child was cut in two, half being 
given to Vatea and half to Tonga-iti. Vatea took the upper 
portion, which was his, and threw it into the sky, where it 
became the sun, while Tonga-iti allowed his share, the lower 
half, to remain on the ground. Later, Imitating Vatea, he also 
tossed his portion into the heavens, where it became the moon, 
but, owing to the fact that the blood had drained out of It 
and that it had partly decomposed, it shone with a paler 
light.^°^ The simple statement that the sun and moon were 
made by the deity is found In the Society Group, ^°^ and little 
more seems to be recorded from Hawaii. ^"^ 

The origin of the sea, a feature of the environment of neces- 
sity particularly prominent for an island people, has already 
been mentioned In passing, but a few further points may well 
be added here. The conception of a primeval sea has been 
shown to be especially prevalent In central and western Poly- 
nesia, where we also find belief In the origin of the ocean from 
the sweat of Taaroa in his labours of creation. ^"^ A variant 
appears In Samoa, where the sea is said to have arisen from 
the bursting of the Ink-sack of the primeval octopus, ^°^ but in 
the Marquesas, ^°^ on the other hand, it Is stated that the ocean 
was derived from the amniotic liquor when Atanua, the wife 
of the Heaven-Deity Atea, suffered a miscarriage. One other 


Samoan myth fragment relating to the origin of the sea is of 
interest as evidencing the Melanesian influence to be found on 
this western margin of Polynesia. According to this tale, the 
sea was originally concealed and kept shut up, but was later 
let out, the result being a flood. ^°^ More detailed versions 
of this incident are wide-spread in Melanesia, ^^° whence this 
Samoan fragment was probably derived. 

The evolutionary growth and origin of plants and trees in 
Hawaiian mythology has already been outlined, and Rangi's 
setting of plants and trees upon Papa in the Maori myth has 
also been noted,"^ but some versions include a curious inci- 
dent. According to these forms of the myth,^^^ Tane planted 
trees upon his mother, Earth, after the raising of Rangi. At 
first he set them with their heads (i. e. their roots) up and their 
feet down, but since he did not like their appearance he re- 
versed them, and placed them with their heads in the earth 
and their feet up. With this he was much pleased, and so they 
grow to this day. The unusual idea of trees having formerly 
been upside down may perhaps be connected with the fre- 
quent Indonesian ^^^ and Micronesian "^ theme of the great 
tree hanging upside down In the sky, by whose branches men 
passed back and forth to the upper world. 

The importance of flood-myths in Polynesia was apparently 
not very great. Deluge-episodes, of course, do occur; but so 
far as the published material goes, the floods referred to are 
merely incidents — and, as a whole, minor incidents — in 
other stories. For instance, Tawhaki ^^^ is said to have caused 
a deluge by stamping on the floor of heaven, which cracked 
so that the waters flowed through and covered the earth; ^^® 
or, again, his mother is recorded to have wept at the actions 
of her son, her tears falling to earth and flooding it, thus over- 
whelming all men; ^^^ while another version ^^^ declares that 
Tawhaki, wishing to be avenged for the attempt to kill him, 
called upon the gods to send a deluge to overwhelm the world 
after he and his friend had taken refuge on the top of a moun- 


tain. Of a similar type are the references In Hawaiian myth- 
ology to the "Sea of Kahinalil." According to this tale,^^^ 
Pele, the fire-goddess, once lived far to the south-west, but 
when her husband deserted her, she set out to try to find him. 
To aid her in the search, her parents gave her the sea to go 
with her and bear her canoes, and as she journeyed she poured 
forth the sea from her head, the waters rising until only the 
tops of the highest mountains were visible, but later retiring 
to their present level. 

A somewhat more elaborate flood-myth Is reported from 
Raiatea In the Society Group. ^^^ According to this version, 
a fisherman once got his hook entangled In the hair of Rua- 
haku, a sea-god, who was asleep at the bottom of the sea, 
but when the man tried to pull In what he fancied to be a great 
fish, he so enraged the deity that he was about to destroy his 
disturber. The fisherman, however, begged for mercy, and 
the god finally agreed to spare him, but Insisted on revenging 
himself upon the rest of the world. By Rua-haku's advice, the 
fisherman took refuge on an Islet with a friend, a hog, a dog, 
and a couple of hens, and the sea then began to rise, con- 
tinuing so to do until all the world was overflowed, and all the 
people had perished, after which the waters retired to their 
former level. 

In Mangala, In the Cook Group, a tale Is told ^-^ of a con- 
flict between Aokeu and Ake, a sea-deity. The two quarrelled 
as to which was the more powerful, and Ake, to show his might, 
caused the sea to rise and dash upon the land in great waves, 
while Aokeu made rain to fall In floods, so that, between the 
two, the island was covered, except for a small bit which pro- 
truded. RangI (not the deity, apparently), the first king of 
Mangaia, took refuge on this fragment of dry land, and, 
alarmed lest he should be drowned, prayed to Rongo to aid 
him, whereupon the latter deity forced the two contestants to 
cease their display of power, and the deluge subsided. ^^^ 

The two legends which have been recorded from Samoa are 


of a somewhat different type in that they are more a part of 
the cosmogonic tales. According to one version,^^^ in early times 
there was a flood which destroyed all beings, except one man, 
Pili, and his wife, who took refuge on a rock, these survivors 
subsequently becoming the ancestors of mankind. Another 
form of the myth ^^^ states that when the flood came, Seve 
and a man called Pouniu alone saved themselves by swimming. 
Tangaloa saw them from the sky, and pitying their plight 
sent down two men from the heavens with hooks, who drew 
Samoa from under the sea to serve as a refuge for the two 
who were thus rescued. 

Although there may be some question whether the end of 
the Raiatea story shows traces of missionary influence, all 
these flood-tales are probably aboriginal. As much cannot be 
said, however, for the versions from New Zealand,^^^ the Mar- 
quesas,^^^ and Hawaii, ^-^ in all of which the Biblical parallel, 
extending even to names and details, is far too close to permit 
us to regard the tales as other than local adaptations of mis- 
sionary teaching. 


OF all the myths from the Polynesian area, probably none 
have been more frequently quoted than those which 
recount the deeds and adventures of the demigod Maui. 
Among the Polynesians themselves almost every group had 
its own versions of the tales, and the large number of variants, 
many of which have fortunately been recorded, make the 
Maui cycle one of the most important for the study of this 
whole area. 

Maui, the hero of these tales, is generally described as one 
of a series of brothers, the number varying from three in Raro- 
tonga to six in some of the New Zealand versions, although in 
Mangaia he Is spoken of as having no brother.^ As in hero 
tales generally, he is usually the youngest child, and in New 
Zealand especially the older Mauls are described as stupid 
or forgetful, while Maui, the hero. Is clever or mischievous. ^ 
Thus the elder brothers used spears without barbs and eel- 
pots without trap-doors, and wondered why they were un- 
successful; but the youngest invented the barb on the spear 
and the trap-door for the eel-pot, and so succeeded where they 
failed. These two elements, I. e. that the hero is one of a num- 
ber of brothers and that the others are stupid or foolish while 
he is wise and clever, are very strikingly developed in the Mela- 
nesian myths,^ which often record two brothers and in which 
there is sometimes a greater antithesis of good and evil than 
is implied in the Polynesian myths. In the New Hebrides and 
vicinity, indeed, the hero at times appears under the name of 
Maui."* While in the non-Maori parts of the Polynesian area 


Maui's birth is generally not dissimilar to that of his other 
brothers, in New Zealand the hero is declared to have been an 
abortion, which his mother wrapped up in her apron or top- 
knot, and either abandoned in the bush or threw into the sea.^ 
Although thus deserted by his parent, Maui survived,^ for 
the unformed child was tended by supernatural beings and 
reared to manhood, some versions declaring that he was taken 
up into the sky-world. There he grew up and engaged in a 
conflict with Maru (by one account, an elder brother),^ whose 
crops he ruined by sending rain or snow upon them, for which 
Maru revenged himself by causing frost to kill Maui's crops, 
whereupon, in retaliation, the hero slew him.^ Having at 
length reached maturity, Maui determined to seek out his 
parents and brothers, and came upon the latter engaged in 
playing at niti or teka. In this game reeds, fern stalks, or 
spears are cast so as to rebound from a small hillock of earth 
and slide along the ground, the winner being he whose niti 
goes farthest. After the brothers had hurled their spears, 
Maui asked to be allowed to throw, and as he did so he shouted 
his name, but the others at once disclaimed him and said that 
he had no right to be called Maui. He asked them, however, 
to summon their mother that she might decide, yet when she 
came, she at once declared that he was no child of hers and 
bade him begone. Maui next asked her to recall her past, and 
then she remembered that which she had cast away. Maui 
declared this to have been his origin and that his ancestors 
had saved him and brought him up. His mother finally 
recognized him, declared him her youngest son, and made him 
her favourite.^ This episode of the return of the abandoned 
child is strikingly parallel to tales current in Melanesia,^" 
where a deserted child joins others who are playing a game 
and is ultimately recognized by his parent. So far as reported, 
this incident does not occur elsewhere in Polynesia, except in 

Of the many exploits of Maui three seem to be most widely 


spread, and these may, therefore, be first considered. They 
are fishing up the land, snaring the sun, and the quest of fire. 
As an example of the first of these feats we may take one of 
the New Zealand versions. ^^ Maui had an ancestress to whom 
it was the duty of the elder brothers to carry food, but they 
neglected her and ate it themselves. Maui offered to take 
their place, but when he came to his ancestress, he found her 
ill, one half of her body being already dead, whereupon he 
wrenched off her lower jaw, made from it a fish-hook, which 
he concealed about him, and then returned to his home. His 
brothers did not like to have him accompany them on their 
fishing trips, but Maui hid in their canoe, and when they were 
out at sea next day, he disclosed himself. At first they were 
going to put him ashore, but finally they agreed to let him 
stay, since they thought that he could not fish if they did 
not give him a hook. Nothing dismayed, Maui took out his 
magic hook, struck his nose with his fist until it bled, and baited 
his hook with the blood. ^^ Lowering his line, he soon got a 
tremendous bite and at last hauled in the land, like a great fish, 
from the bottom of the sea. Telling his brothers not to cut it 
up, he went away, but they disobeyed him and began to hack 
with their knives, thus causing the great fish to struggle, break 
the canoe, and kill the brothers, while, owing to the cuts made 
by them, the land became rough and rugged. In some versions 
of the myth the land so hauled up was that of Tonga; in others, 
it was New Zealand, which some of the Maori called Te-ika- 
a-maul, "The Fish of Maui." According to another account,^^ 
the magic fish-hook was made from the jaw-bone of Maui's 
oldest son, whom Maui had killed for this purpose, the bait 
being the ear of this same child; and for three moons he laboured 
to drag up the great fish with the aid of Rupe, a pigeon, to 
whom he gave one end of the line. 

It is in New Zealand that the story of this exploit of the 
hero is told with the greatest wealth of detail, although Hawaii 
also furnishes versions nearly as fuU.^^ Here the reason is 


given why the brothers did not Hke to have Maui go fishing 
with them. He was not a very good fisherman, but was full 
of mischievous tricks by which he secured the catch actually 
taken by his brothers. When one of them began to haul in a 
prize, Maui would cry, "Look out, we have both caught the 
same fish," and would rapidly pull in his line, so manoeuvr- 
ing as to foul that of the other. As the fish was brought near 
the canoe, he would then slip his hook toward the head of the 
fish and flip it over into the canoe, thus causing his brother's 
line to slacken, and then, holding up the fish, he would say, "Oh, 
you lost your fish. Why didn't you pull steadily?" ^^ When 
at last the brothers allowed the tricky fellow to accompany them 
again, he baited his magic fish-hook with a bird, sacred to his 
mother, Hine; but the fish which he caught was so huge that 
he asked his brothers to help him haul it in, and as the land 
began to emerge from the sea, he cautioned them not to look 
back or the prize would be lost. One of the brothers dis- 
obeyed, and at once the line broke and the land also, so that, 
instead of a great single mass, it was fractured into a group of 
islands. Central Polynesia and Tonga ^^ present, so far as 
published materials go, much briefer accounts and in almost 
all cases attribute the same feat to Tangaroa also or some other 
deity or demigod. The episode seems to be but little known 
in Samoa. ^^ There it is attributed solely to Tangaroa and 
is a variant of the story of how, in the beginning, he cast a 
rock down from the sky to serve as an abiding place for his 
daughter, the snipe, in the world of waters. From the evi- 
dence it would appear that the episode was one which was 
a part of the older structure of Polynesian mythology and 
which in the central and western areas had been overlaid by 
later elements. Outside of the Polynesian region comparable 
myths have so far been noted in certain of the New Hebrides,^^ 
Fotuna,-° Union Group, Gilbert Islands,^^ and New Britain.^^ 
A Hawaiian version -^ of the snaring of the sun may be taken 
as an example of Maui's next exploit. Maui's mother was 


much troubled by the shortness of the day, occasioned by the 
rapid movement of the sun; and since it was impossible to 
dry properly the sheets of tapa used for clothing, the hero 
resolved to cut off the legs of the sun so that he could not 
travel so fast. His mother, accordingly, made strong ropes 
for him and sent him to his blind old grandmother to get added 
assistance. He found her cooking bananas, and as she laid 
them down one after the other, Maui stole them. At length 
discovering her loss, but unable to see the culprit, she sniffed 
about angrily until she smelt a man, whereupon she asked 
who it was, and when Maui told her that he was her grand- 
son, she forgave him and presented him with a magic club to 
aid him in his attack on the sun. Maui now went off east- 
ward to where the sun climbed daily out of the underworld, 
and as the luminary came up, the hero noosed his legs one 
after the other and tied the ropes strongly to great trees. 
Fairly caught, the sun could not get away, and Maui gave him 
a tremendous beating with his magic weapon. To save his 
life, the sun begged for mercy, and on promising to go more 
slowly ever after, was released from his bonds. 

Substantially the same form of the story is found in New 
Zealand. ^^ Maui "observed that the time between the sun's 
rising and setting was very short, and he said to his brothers, 
'Let us tie the sun, that it may not go so fast, that man may 
have time to provide food for himself.' But his brothers said, 
'Man cannot go near to the sun on account of the heat.' 
Maui said, 'You have seen the many acts that I have per- 
formed. I have taken the form of a bird, and again resumed 
that of a man, while you have ever had the form of men. And 
now, my brothers, I can do what I propose, and even greater 
acts than this.' His brothers consented, and commenced to plait 
ropes. . . . When these had been made Maui took his weapon, 
made of the jaw-bone of his progenitor . . . and his brothers 
took their weapons and the ropes, and they . . . journeyed 
till they had got near where the sun came up. Maui, address- 


Ing his brothers, said, 'Beware you do not surprise and unneces- 
sarily startle the sun; but let his head and shoulders be fully 
within the noose, and be ready when I call to pull the opposite 
ends of the ropes. When the sun is caught, I will rise and beat 
him. But let the ropes be securely fastened that he may be 
held for some time. And O young men! do not heed his cry of 
pain. Then we will let him go.' 

"The sun came up like blazing fire, and when his head and 
shoulders had entered the noose Maui encouraged his brothers 
to action by saying 'Now pull.' They did so, and the sun drew 
his limbs together with a twitch. Maui rushed at him with 
his weapon, and scarce had the sun time to call before Maui 
was belabouring him, and continued to so do for some time. 
When they let him go he went away crippled, and in the an- 
guish of his pain he uttered another of his names, Tama-nui-a- 
te-ra (great child of the sun), and said, 'Why am I so beaten 
by you, O man! I will have my revenge on you for having 
dared to beat the great child of the sun.' He departed on his 
way, but was unable to travel so fast as before." 

It will be noted that this and other New Zealand versions,^^ 
like all those so far recorded from the rest of Polynesia,-® lack 
the incident of the visit to the blind grandmother. This epi- 
sode of the stealing of food from a blind person is, however, 
widely current in Polynesia, but is, as a rule, told in connexion 
with another hero, Tawhaki, whose adventures and relation- 
ship will be considered later. On the other hand, it is not un- 
common in Melanesia,^^ and is also found in Micronesia ^^ 
and Indonesia. ^^ In the Society Group a somewhat dif- 
ferent aspect is given to the story by the fact that the pur- 
pose was not to make the sun go more slowly, but to bring it 
nearer, so that it might more quickly heat the stones that 
Maui used in cooking his food.^° In Samoa the adventure, 
albeit in a somewhat abbreviated form, is attributed not to 
Maui but to the Sun-Child, some of whose other adventures 
are widely spread in Polynesia. 


The third of the great exploits usually accredited to Maui 
is that of the fire-quest. As with much of the Maui cycle, the 
fuller versions have been best preserved in New Zealand.^^ 
According to these, Maui and his brothers lived with their 
mother, but every morning she disappeared before they awoke, 
and none knew whither she went. Determining to solve the 
mystery, Maui stopped up every chink and cranny in the house, 
thus preventing the morning light from coming in,^^ so that 
his mother overslept, and Maui, waking in time, saw her leave 
the house, pull up a clump of reeds or grass, and disappear 
down the opening thus revealed. Adopting his favourite dis- 
guise of a bird, he followed, flying down the aperture to the 
world below, where he revealed himself to his parent and de- 
manded food. The fire being out, his mother was about to 
send a servant to secure some, when Maui volunteered to 
bring It and accordingly went to the house of his ancestor 
Mafuike, an old woman who was the owner and guardian of 
fire. Of her he begged a brand, and she gave him one of her 
fingers, in which fire was concealed. He started away, but 
when out of sight, quenched it in a stream and returned for 
more. She gave him another finger, which he extinguished in 
a similar manner, and thus got from her in succession all her 
fingers and toes, except the last, with which, in anger, she set 
the world afire.^^ Maui fled, but was pursued by the flames, 
which threatened to consume everything, so that in distress 
he called upon rain, snow, and hail to aid him, and they, com- 
ing to his assistance, succeeded In putting out the conflagra- 
tion and thus saved the world. In some versions Maui then 
returned to this world, having conquered the fire-deity; but 
in others the latter threw the last of the fire into various 
trees, which since then have preserved the germ of fire, 
which can be called forth by friction. Similar tales have been 
recorded from several of the other Polynesian groups.^* The 
practical absence of this myth from the Society Group is prob- 
ably due to the very small amount of myth material so far 


published from there; on the other hand, the whole Maui cycle 
is apparently less important In this Group than elsewhere. 

The various versions of this legend which have been recorded 
in the Polynesian area present minor differences which would 
seem to be significant, and a consideration of some of the sepa- 
rate incidents of this myth may, therefore, be instructive. 
In the first place, the Idea that fire was originally obtained 
from the underworld (a feature found In all these Polynesian 
versions) is one which also occurs in Melanesia; ^^ although, 
on the other hand, a more usual explanation in this area Is 
that fire was either brought from another land by some animal 
after several unsuccessful attempts or was accidentally dis- 
covered.^® In the Polynesian versions of Maui's exploit the 
method by which his parent and he reached the underworld 
varies considerably. Thus, in the form outlined above, the 
opening to the nether world Is concealed under a tuft of 
reeds or grass, and this same idea appears in both the Sa- 
moan version and in that from Nieue. Forms of the tale 
from New Zealand, Samoa, and Mangaia (Cook Group), how- 
ever, state that the parent went to a rock or cliff, and re- 
peating a charm caused it to open, thus revealing the entrance 
to the lower world. This Open Sesame" incident by itself is 
found in numerous other myths from New Zealand,^^ as well 
as from the Chatham Islands ^^ and Tahitl,^^ and is reported 
also from British New Guinea ^° and from Halmahera.'*^ Still 
another way of descent to the underworld, namely, by pulling 
up one of the house posts, occurs in one of the Maori versions, 
as it does in that from Manihiki. 

In the New Zealand myths the underworld deity from whom 
Maui secures fire is described as an old woman, whereas in 
practically all the other portions of Polynesia where the myth 
is found this divinity is male — a distinction which is possibly 
significant in view of the fact that in Melanesia we find an old 
woman as the owner or guardian of fire, from whom it is stolen 
or by whom It Is given to mankind.'^^ Again, when Maui asks 




the New Zealand fire-goddess for fire, she takes off and gives 
to him one of her fingers or toes, the igneous element thus 
being obtained from the body of its owner. This incident is 
also found in the Chatham Island versions, and in a slightly 
modified form in the Marquesas, though it is lacking in other 
portions of Polynesia; but it is interesting to note, on the other 
hand, that this same conception of the obtaining of fire from 
the body of its owner occurs both in Melanesia ^^ and in Micro- 
nesia.'*'* Where this myth is recorded in the Polynesian area, 
Maui is given merely a firebrand by the deity. In the Maori 
tales Maui has no fight with the owner of fire, but this is an 
important element in the versions elsewhere. In some cases 
(Mangaia, Manihiki, Marquesas, Society Group) Maui kills 
the fire-god, although in the Manihiki myth he miraculously 
restores him to life afterward. In Samoa (and in one version 
from the Marquesas) he does not kill the fire-god, but in wrest- 
ling with him tears off one of his arms, sparing the other at 
the deity's urgent request, a feature which seems to have 
analogues in Micronesia and Melanesia.'*^ 

The incident of the rain being invoked to extinguish the 
conflagration which threatens to destroy the world is also 
known from the Melanesian area.^® From the foregoing it 
would appear that we must admit that Melanesian elements 
are to be recognized particularly in the New Zealand and 
Chatham Island versions of the myth, and perhaps in the 
Marquesas as well. 

It will be noticed that in discussing this exploit of Maui 
no reference has been made to Hawaiian versions, this being 
due to the significant fact that Hawaii, alone of all the Poly- 
nesian groups, lacks the tale completely, although it possesses 
one of wholly different character. According to the Hawaiian 
story,^^ when Maui and his three brothers were out fishing, 
they saw a fire burning on the shore, but on going in search of 
it, the birds (mud-hens) who had made it put it out and ran 
away. After several attempts to surprise them, Maui stayed 

IX — 5 


on shore and sent his three brothers out In the canoe, thinking 
thus to fool the clever birds; but when they perceived that one 
of the Maui brothers was missing from the boat, they refused 
to build a fire. At last Maui hit upon a stratagem. Setting 
up in the canoe a roll of tapa arranged to look like a man, he 
hid on shore while his brothers put to sea with the dummy. 
The birds were deceived and set to work to build a fire, but 
before they had finished, Maui, who could not restrain his 
impatience, rushed up and caught one of them, threatening to 
kill it unless it divulged the secret of how to make fire. The 
bird tried to cheat him several times by giving him false in- 
formation, but at last, in peril of its life, told him the correct 
sorts of wood to use, and so the mystery was learned. In re- 
venge for their attempted treachery Maui then rubbed the 
head of the bird with a firebrand, and so ever since these 
birds have had a red spot on the top of their heads. 

In speaking of the more usual version of Maui's exploit it 
was pointed out that a wide-spread myth of the origin of fire 
in Melanesia and Indonesia declared that animals or birds 
brought it from a distant land.'*^ While this is by no means 
an exact parallel to the Hawaiian tale, it presents the nearest 
approach to it of any of the myths of the origin of fire that are 
known from the whole Pacific area. 

One of the exploits attributed to Maui is that of raising the 
sky. In recounting the cosmogonic myths it has been shown 
that in New Zealand, and also in portions of central and west- 
ern Polynesia, this elevation of the heavens was performed by 
one or other of the great gods and is thus in reality a portion of 
the cosmogonic beliefs. As an episode of the Maui cycle, the 
incident seems to be lacking in New Zealand,'*^ while prevalent 
in central and western Polynesia and Hawaii. In Hawaii and 
Samoa the versions are nearly similar. The heavens were 
formerly, it is said, very low, and Maui volunteered to raise 
them if a woman would give him a draught of water from her 
gourd. She agreed, and by a series of exertions Maui lifted 


the sky, first to the level of the tree- tops, next to the moun- 
tain-tops, and then by a mighty effort thrust it up to its 
present height.^" The deed is here accomplished in a rather 
commonplace manner, wholly by Maui, or Tiitii, as he is called 
in Samoa, and no question of any deity whatever is involved.^^ 
In Hawaii no other form of the episode seems to exist, but in 
Samoa ^" there are several variants, according to which the 
sky is raised by another being at the behest of Tangaloa. 
Two types appear in the remainder of central Polynesia from 
which we have material available. There is, first, that where 
the action is attributed to one of the deities, usually Ru;^' 
and secondly, that form which ascribes the deed to Maui, 
aided by Ru.^^ Almost throughout this area ^^ the myth is 
characterized by the statement that before the sky was raised 
it was held up by plants, which owe their flat leaves to the 
pressure so exerted. As was suggested on a previous page, the 
episode of the elevation of the heavens seems to have been 
originally a part of the cosmogonic myths prevalent through- 
out the Polynesian area, with the exception of Hawaii. In 
New Zealand It remained such, owing to the rupture of all 
communication with the rest of Polynesia after the period of 
the great migrations of the fourteenth century; but in central 
Polynesia, on the other hand, it largely lost its true cosmogonic 
character and was assimilated by the Maui cycle, being car- 
ried as such to Hawaii, which lacks any other form, though 
vestiges of the older cosmogonic type linger in the central 

In the Maui cycle Hawaii presents a local and characteristic 
version of the fire-quest, a theme which seems universally 
present in one form or other. New Zealand, on the contrary, 
shows an episode not found in any other portion of Polynesia — - 
Maui's attempt to secure immortality for mankind. One can- 
not do better than quote Grey's version of this tale.^® 

"Maui . . . returned to his parents, and when he had been 
with them for some time, his father said to him one day, 'Oh, 


my son, I have heard from your mother and others that you 
are very valiant, and that you have succeeded in all feats that 
you have undertaken in your own country, whether they were 
small or great; but now that you have arrived in your father's 
country, you will, perhaps, be at last overcome.' 

"Then Maui asked him, 'What do you mean, what things are 
there that I can be vanquished by?' And his father answered 
him, 'By your great ancestress, by Hine-nui-te-po, who, if you 
look, you may see flashing, and as it were, opening and shutting 
there, where the horizon meets the sky.' And Maui replied, 
* Lay aside such idle thoughts, and let us both fearlessly seek 
whether men are to die or live forever.' And his father said, 
'My child, there has been an ill omen for us; when I was bap- 
tizing you, I omitted a portion of the fitting prayers, and that 
I know will be the cause of your perishing.' 

"Then Maui asked his father, 'What is my ancestress Hine- 
nui-te-po like.'" and he answered, 'What you see yonder shin- 
ing so brightly red are her eyes, and her teeth are as sharp 
and hard as pieces of volcanic glass; her body is like that of 
man, and as for the pupils of her eyes, they are jasper; and 
her hair is like the tangles of long seaweed, and her mouth is 
like that of a barracouta.' Then his son answered him, 'Do 
you think her strength is as great as that of Tama-nui-ite-Ra, 
who consumes man, and the earth, and the very waters, by the 
fierceness of his heat.^ . . . But I laid hold of Tama-nui- 
ite-Ra, and now he goes slowly.' . . . And his father answered 
him, 'That is all very true, O, my last born, and the strength of 
my old age; well, then, be bold, go and visit your great an- 
cestress who flashes so fiercely there, where the edge of the 
horizon meets the sky.' 

"Hardly was this conversation concluded with his father, 
when the young hero went forth to look for companions to 
accompany him upon this enterprise: and so there came to him 
for companions, the small robin, and the large robin, and the 
thrush, and the yellow-hammer, and every kind of little bird, 


and the water wag-tail, and these all assembled together, and 
they all started with Maui in the evening, and arrived at the 
dwelling of Hine-nui-te-po and found her fast asleep. 

"Then Maui addressed them all, and said, 'My little friends, 
now if you see me creep into this old chieftainess, do not laugh 
at what you see. Nay, nay, do not I pray you, but when I 
have got altogether inside her, and just as I am coming out 
of her mouth, then you may shout with laughter if you please.' 
And his little friends, who were frightened at what they saw, 
replied, 'Oh sir, you will certainly be killed.' And he answered 
them, 'If you burst out laughing at me as soon as I get inside 
her, you will wake her up, and she will certainly kill me at 
once, but if you do not laugh until I am quite inside her, and 
am on the point of coming out of her mouth, I shall live, and 
Hine-nui-te-po will die.' And his little friends answered, 'Go 
on then, brave sir, but pray take good care of yourself.' 

"Then the young hero started off, and twisted the strings 
of his weapon tight round his wrist, and went into the house, 
and stripped off his clothes, and the skin on his hips looked 
mottled and beautiful as that of a mackerel, from the tattoo 
marks, cut on it with the chisel of Uetonga, and he entered the 
old chieftainess. 

"The little birds now screwed up their tiny cheeks, trying to 
suppress their laughter; at last the little Tiwakawaka could no 
longer keep it in, and laughed out loud, with its merry cheerful 
note; this woke the old woman up, she opened her eyes, started 
up, and killed Maui." 

This version lacks one element ^^ which appears In some, 
i. e. that, to accomplish his purpose, Maui must pass through 
into the world of night or death and then return, for thus, and 
thus only, could man survive the coming fate.^^ In his attempt 
he succeeds In the first portion of the self-appointed task, yet 
is caught and killed just as the victory is all but gained. Al- 
though this is one of the favourite tales of Maui in New Zea- 
land, there are variant recensions of his attempt to secure Im- 


mortality for man, and these have considerable interest be- 
cause, like that just discussed, they seem to be confined to 
New Zealand and to show unmistakable relationship to the 
tales of other areas. According to the other myths, it is the 
moon who is responsible for the fact that death is lasting. 
Maui wished that man might not die forever, and so said to 
Hina, the moon, "Let death be very short — that is, Let man 
die and live again, and live on forever," whereupon Hina replied, 
" Let death be very long, that man may sigh and sorrow." Maui 
again said, "Let man die and live again, as you, the moon, 
die and live again," but Hina said, "No let man die and be- 
come like soil, and never rise to life again." And so it was.^* 
We have here one of those simple tales, told in some form or 
other by many peoples, which account for death by declaring 
it to be the result of a dispute between two persons, one want- 
ing immortality for man, the other not. Often, as in this in- 
stance, the case is settled merely by fiat; in others there is some 
form of conflict or other means of victory by one of the dis- 
putants; while very frequently the desired regeneration is 
compared to that of the snake which casts its skin and is thus 
renewed. This type of myth appears to be wholly lacking in 
Polynesia outside of New Zealand, with the exception of Tahiti, 
where the incident is, however, not related of Maui, and where 
the moon takes the positive instead of the negative side.^° It 
is perhaps significant that similar tales, or those ascribing 
the origin of death to some mistake or misunderstanding, are 
widely current both in Melanesia ^^ and in Indonesia. ^^ The 
prevalence of legends of this character in New Zealand and of 
the more elaborated theories of the origin of death, as shown 
in the myth of Maui and Hine-nui-te-po, may well be in- 
terpreted, in view of their occurrence in Melanesia, as part of 
the demonstrated Melanesian influence in Maori mythology. 
Their absence in the rest of Polynesia, taken in connexion with 
their presence in Indonesia, is not so easy to explain, unless 
on the ground that they have been overlooked or not recorded. 


The capture and Imprisonment of the winds is one of the 
minor feats often attributed to Maui In New Zealand,^^ where 
he is said to have caught and confined In caves all but the west 
wind, which eluded him. In Samoa ^* the winds are gathered 
up and put in a canoe or coco-nut; while in the Chatham Is- 
lands ^^ they are collected in a basket, not by Maui, but by 
another hero, Tawhaki. 

Two other episodes forming part of the New Zealand cycle 
of Maui stories remain to be considered. In the first of these 
Maui turns his brother-in-law into a dog, usually as a result 
of being angered by some action, such as that of eating up the 
bait prepared for fishing. There are many variants of the tale.^^ 
In some the unsuspecting brother-in-law is transformed while 
Maui is cleaning his head; in others Maui moulds and models 
the sleeping victim into his canine shape; while In others again 
he produces the result by hauling his canoe over the body of 
his brother-in-law, whom he has asked to serve as a skid.^^ So 
far as published material goes, this tale is not found outside 
of New Zealand. 

The other episode Is that where Maui kills Tuna, the eel 
lover of his wife.®^ The latter went one day to the stream to 
get water, and while she stood on the bank. Tuna came up in 
the guise of a great eel, struck her with his tail, knocked her 
Into the stream, and maltreated her. Angry at this, Maui laid 
down two logs on which Tuna might cross over, and then, hid- 
ing, killed the eel as he came, after which various plants, trees, 
fish, and monsters of the deep were derived from the creature's 
head and body.®^ Unlike the previous episode, this seems to 
be more or less closely related to other incidents found else- 
where in Polynesia. 

In Samoa, ^° the Union Group, ^^ Mangaia,'^^ and Tahiti ^^ a 
myth told to account for the origin of the coco-nut must be re- 
garded as related. According to the Mangalan version, Ina, a 
maiden, was accustomed to bathe In a certain pool. One day a 
great eel crept up to her and touched her, and this occurred 


again and again until finally the eel threw off his disguise and 
revealed himself as a beautiful youth named Tuna, who there- 
after, accepted by Ina, became her lover and visited her in 
human form, resuming his animal shape when he left. At last 
Tuna declared that he must depart for ever, but that on the fol- 
lowing day he would make one final visit as an eel in a great 
flood of water, when Ina must cut off his head and bury it. She 
did this, and according to his request visited the spot daily. For 
some time nothing was to be seen, but at length a green shoot 
became visible and finally grew into a beautiful tree. In course 
of time this produced fruits, which were the first coco-nuts, and 
on each nut, when husked, the eyes and face of Ina's lover can 
still be seen. In this form the tale occurs only in tropical Poly- 
nesia, i. e. in the region where the coco-nut is found; but in 
New Zealand, where this fruit does not grow, the legend seems 
to have assumed a slightly different aspect, and it is apparently 
lacking in Hawaii, although the coco-nut is abundant there.''* 
Two aspects of this myth are worthy of further considera- 
tion. The "Beauty and the Beast" incident (i. e. the lover who 
comes in animal guise) is one widely current in parts of Mela- 
nesia ^^ and Indonesia,'^ but apart from this central and west- 
ern portion it does not appear to be common in Polynesia.''^ 
The origin of the coco-nut from the buried head of an animal 
or person is very wide-spread in Melanesia '^ and occurs also 
In Indonesia. ''' The myth is, to be sure, one to which the gen- 
eral resemblance of the coco-nut to the human head might be 
expected to give rise, and in view of this its absence from 
Hawaii is interesting. 


WE have thus far considered the Polynesian cosmogonic 
myths and those which group themselves in a cycle 
about the hero Maui; but there is also a considerable mass of 
myth material which, although less systematic, is nevertheless 
of great importance in any survey of the mythology of the 
area. It is obviously impossible to consider all of this data, 
so that we must restrict ourselves to a selection of what seems 
most typical and most significant. As the available material 
is particularly abundant from New Zealand, it follows that 
to a large extent the examples chosen must be taken from 
there; although reference will likewise be made, so far as is 
possible, to data from other island groups. 

In Maori mythology a number of tales cluster about a hero- 
deity named Tawhaki and his grandson Rata; and we may 
well begin the consideration of the residuum of Polynesian 
mythology with an outline of this story.^ Whaitari or Whati- 
tlrl ("Thunder") was a female divinity of cannibalistic pro- 
pensities who lived in the sky. Hearing of a man In this world, 
a warrior known as Kal-tangata, or "Man-Eater" (apparently 
not to be confused with the Kai-tangata, son of Rehua, who 
was killed by Rupe),^ and supposing from his name that he, too, 
was fond of human flesh, she determined to marry him. De- 
scending to earth, therefore, she slew one of her slaves and 
carried the reeking heart to Kai-tangata as an offering, but 
he indignantly refused to accept it and explained that his name 
had reference merely to his warlike prowess. Although dis- 
appointed, Whaitari married him and bore several children, 


one of whom was Hema; but to appease her fondness for 
human flesh she continued to slay men and accidentally thus 
killed and ate certain of her husband's relatives. Not knowing 
who they were, he used their bones to make fish-hooks, but 
when Whaitari ate of the fish caught with these hooks, she was 
stricken blind as a punishment for her evil deeds. Soon after 
this, displeased at certain remarks which her husband made 
about her, she resolved to leave him and return to the sky, 
but before going she told Hema not to attempt to follow 
her, although she said that if he had children they might be 
successful in reaching the heavens. In some versions these 
instructions were given to Kai-tangata's other wife, who duly 
reported them to the sorrowing husband. Whaitari herself 
ascended to the sky in a cloud which came and enveloped her. 

Hema grew up, married, and had as children Tawhaki and 
Karihi, but when his wife had been carried off" by evil beings, 
Hema went to rescue her, only to be himself overcome and 
killed by them.^ Meanwhile Tawhaki's cousins were jealous of 
him, for owing to his beauty and prowess he won the favour 
of all the maidens; so one day his kinsmen attacked him 
while he was bathing and left him for dead. Found by his 
wife, he was nursed back to health and revenged himself amply 
on those who sought his death, by overwhelming them in a 
flood sent by the gods in answer to his prayers. 

Tawhaki now resolved to seek and rescue his mother. He 
successfully accomplished the long journey to the distant 
land where she was kept captive and found that she had to 
remain outside the great house in which her goblin captors 
lived, and rouse them daily at dawn. With her he concocted 
a plan by which their enemies were destroyed. Concealing 
himself in the house, he waited until all the occupants were 
inside and asleep, whereupon, aided by his mother, he silently 
stopped up every cranny by which light could enter and thus 
kept all imprisoned until it was broad daylight. Then, when 
the door was suddenly opened, those within were dazzled by 


the unaccustomed glare and thus fell an easy prey to Taw- 
haki, who rushed from his place of concealment and slew them 

Hema, the father of Tawhaki, had now to be sought, and 
on this quest Tawhaki was accompanied by his brother, 
Karihi. The order of events varies in different versions, but the 
incidents, as a rule, are much the same. The two set off in a 
canoe to seek for their father, and after crossing the sea they 
came to a land where they found a blind old woman who was 
none other than Whaitari, their grandmother. She was busy 
counting over and over a series of yams or baskets of food, 
and Tawhaki (as in some versions of the Maui stories) quietly 
snatched away one after another until she became aware that 
something was wrong. She sniffed in all directions, hoping to 
detect the thief and catch him, for she was a cannibal and 
hungry for human flesh; but at last Tawhaki made himself 
known as her grandson, and then restored her sight, either by 
anointing her eyes with his spittle mixed with clay or by slap- 
ping them with his hand.^ 

From his grandmother he learned of the way to reach the 
upper world, which could be attained only by climbing a 
spider's web which hung down to earth. Up this Tawhaki ac- 
cordingly went, his brother, who tried to ascend first, being 
driven back by the winds so that he fell and was killed. Ar- 
rived in the sky-world, Tawhaki inquired from an aged woman 
whom he met where his father's bones were to be found and 
discovered that they were kept in a house. Paying no further 
attention to them, apparently, he then proceeded to climb to 
the highest heaven of all that he might learn from a deity 
there the most powerful incantations and charms. He was 
successful and brought them back to this world for the use 
of man. Some versions have him take a wife in the upper 
world and remain there as a deity of lightning; although if 
we may believe others, his ascent to the sky was in quest of 
his wife. While he still lived on earth, according to this latter 


form of the myth, a beautiful sky-maiden was enamoured of 
him and came down to earth secretly at night to visit him, 
later deciding to remain openly as his wife and bearing him 
a daughter. As a result of a disagreement, she determined 
to return to her celestial home and did so, taking her child 
with her, whereupon, disconsolate over his loss, Tawhaki re- 
solved to seek her, had his encounter with the blind old 
woman, and climbed to the upper world by means of the 
spider's web. Arrived in the sky, he assumed the guise of an old 
man, and was forced by a group of people engaged in making 
a canoe to carry their axes for them; but returning secretly 
he completed the boat unaided in a marvellously short time, 
after which he resumed his normal form, openly sought and 
found his wife, and lived with her in the sky-world. However 
Tawhaki secured his wife, she bore him a son, Wahieroa, who 
married in his turn, but when his wife was about to give birth 
to her child, she requested that a certain sort of rare food, to 
be obtained only in far-away lands, be brought to her. Wahieroa, 
accordingly, went off to a distant eastern country to secure it, 
but was there caught and killed by a cannibal giant named 
Matuku. The child, a son, was born, and named Rata.^ 

When Rata had grown up, he asked his mother about his 
father and learned from her how he had been killed in a dis- 
tant land, so he resolved to be avenged and accordingly set 
about building a canoe. Selecting a great tree, he cut it down, 
but was amazed the next day, on coming to continue his work, 
to find the tree again erect and quite unharmed. A second time 
he cut it down, only to discover it intact and standing when 
he returned. A third time he felled the tree and then hid him- 
self to observe what happened. Soon he heard voices singing: 

"It is Rata. Rata you are 
Felling the forest of Tane. 
Fly this way, the splinters of Tane; 
Stick together and hold. 
Fly this way, the chips of Tane; 
Yes, stick together, hold tremblingly. 


Fly this way, the ribs of Tane; 

Yes, sticking together; yes, holding. 

Stand straight up. O! stand up green and fresh. 

Lift up; stand growing green." 

And as he watched, the chips that he had cut fliew together to 
the stump, and the tree slowly rose and became whole once 
more. Rata then recognized the work of the little forest spirits 
(in some versions said to have come in the guise of birds), 
but when he called to them and asked them to desist, they in- 
formed him that he had done wrong in not having made the 
fitting sacrifices and said the proper charms before beginning 
his work. The wood spirits took pity on him, however, and 
told him that if he would go home, they would complete his 
canoe for him overnight; and so indeed it happened, for in 
the morning the work was all done, and a fine new boat stood 
beside the door. 

The canoe, thus magically provided, was soon launched, and 
Rata, setting out with his followers to avenge his father, 
came, after long voyaging, to an island where one of the can- 
nibal giants lived. This monster first tried to swallow the whole 
party at once, but by his power Rata multiplied his followers 
so greatly that they spread over all the shore, and the giant, 
huge as he was, could not accomplish the feat. Failing in this, 
he tried to induce them, after they had entered his house, to 
sit on mats cleverly contrived to conceal traps below, but this 
fate they also escaped. They would not eat the food with which 
he sought to tempt them, and after a vain search for water, for 
which they asked, he returned cold and tired. This was Rata's 
opportunity, and promising the giant some warm and strength- 
ening food, he threw into the monster's great mouth some red- 
hot stones from the fireplace, which caused him to burst and 
killed him. The arch-cannibal, Makutu, who lived in a great 
underground cave, remained, but by spreading nooses over the 
opening, the giant was finally enticed to come out by the abund- 
ant food which he hoped to secure. As he emerged, the nooses 


caught him and were drawn tight, and although he struggled 
tremendously, his wings (in some accounts he was winged ^) 
were broken, and he was finally overcome and killed. Rata 
then gathered up the bones of his father and with them re- 
turned to his home. 

The whole story of Whaitari, Tawhaki, and Rata does not 
appear to exist in other parts of Polynesia, at least in this form, 
so that the best and easiest method of discussing it and its 
relationships, both within and without Polynesia, will be to 
consider the various incidents separately. In no portion of 
Polynesia do tales involving cannibals and cannibalism appear 
quite so prominently as in New Zealand. Whaitari was, as 
has been seen, a female cannibal who, coming down from the 
sky to secure men for food, used to capture them with a net; ^ 
and a somewhat similar idea is shown in a tale from Mangaia,^ 
where a sky-cannibal lets down a basket in which he catches 
and hauls up his human prey; while in Rotuma (a small island 
west of Samoa, containing a mixed Polynesio-Melanesian 
population) we again find something analogous, in that canni- 
bal deities from the upper world were said to descend to earth 
to fish and to catch men, carrying them back with them to 
the sky.^o 

Outside of New Zealand the Tahitian version alone brings 
in the cannibalistic ancestress, although in a somewhat differ- 
ent way, forming a prologue, as it were, to the tale as a whole. 
According to this story,^^ a female deity named Haumea mar- 
ried Ro'o-nui, who came up from the underworld; but as a 
result of a quarrel between the two, Ro'o-nui abandoned his 
wife and child, Tuture, and returned to the lower world. 
Angry at this, Haumea became a cannibal, and Tuture feared 
for his life. He therefore constructed a magic canoe which 
the gods transported to the shore for him. In order to get a 
good start in his projected flight he secretly pierced holes in 
the bottom of the gourds used to carry water and then asked 
his mother to bring him a supply from a distant spring. 


She found the vessels empty on her return and at length, after 
several attempts to bring water in them, discovered the trick, 
whereupon she at once set out after Tuture to kill him. He 
had meanwhile fled in his canoe, but swimming in pursuit, she 
rapidly caught up with him and was about to swallow man 
and canoe when he threw into her open mouth some stones 
heated red-hot in the fire, and thus destroyed her. She was 
not really killed, however, for her body drifted ashore and 
there, coming to life again, she changed her name to Nona 
(Rona) and continued her cannibalistic practices. She bore a 
daughter who, when she grew up, had as lover one of the last 
survivors of the people, most of the rest of whom her mother 
had eaten. This lover kept himself hidden in a cave which 
opened at a magic word, but the cannibal mother at last dis- 
covered the secret, and going instead of her daughter, repeated 
the charm, entered the cave, and killed and ate the fugitive. 
In her anger she then determined to devour her daughter also, 
but the latter, placing a log of wood in her bed to deceive her 
mother, fled, only to be pursued by the relentless ogress. The 
daughter took refuge with an old man whom she begged to 
protect her. This he did, and when Nona came, he succeeded 
in killing her, after which he married the daughter, one of 
whose children was Hema, the father of Tawhaki. 

In this episode and in the New Zealand myth the canni- 
balistic feature is strongly marked, but in general cannibals 
are not prominent figures in Polynesian mythology. On the 
other hand, they are very frequently mentioned in Melanesia 
and Indonesia, where they are commonly described as living 
in or perching on trees and seem, as will be pointed out in 
more detail later, to be possibly associated with or derived 
from vampire spirits. Apart from the cannibal element, an- 
other aspect of this initial part of the tale deserves attention 
in that here we have a sky-maiden who comes down to earth 
to become the wife of a mortal and later leaves him to return 
to the upper world. Now, while this lacks certain rather char- 


acteristic elements of the familiar "swan-maiden" episode, 
it at least contains suggestions of it which, in view of the com- 
monness of the "swan-maiden" tale In the adjacent portion of 
Melanesia and the practical absence of any similar myth in 
other parts of Polynesia may be significant.^ The "swan- 
maiden" tale so wide-spread in many parts of the world ap- 
pears in quite characteristic form in the New Hebrides,^^ but 
— so far as noted — nowhere else in Melanesia, except in the 
western end of Dutch New Guinea.^^ It is, on the other hand, 
almost universal in Indonesia, as will be seen later.^^ 

The remainder of the first portion of the tale, up to 
Tawhaki's search for his father, does not seem to be told 
outside of New Zealand,^® although Hema and the two chil- 
dren occur with the same names in Hawaii ^^ and in Ta- 
hiti.^^ The episode of the attempted murder of Tawhaki, 
found in the Cook and Society Groups in somewhat different 
forms, seems to be absent from Hawaii. In Tahiti the search 
for and rescue of the mother is replaced, more or less, by 
an episode lacking In New Zealand and elsewhere. Ac- 
cording to this form of the tale, Arihi and a company of 
companions went off on an expedition to slay certain evil 
man-killing monsters. Tafa'I (= Tawhaki) wanted to go with 
them, and although they refused to consent, he determined 
to outwit them, so that, by securing a powerful charm, he 
was enabled to ride over the sea on a great shark and reach 
the destination first, surprising Arihi and the others, who 
found him already there when they arrived. The first menace 
to be overcome was a magic kava-p\a.nt which stabbed and 
killed all who approached It, but after some of Arihi's fol- 
lowers had been slain, Tafa'I conquered and destroyed it. 
A man-killing monster was similarly disposed of, and then, his 
tasks accomplished, the hero returned home on his magic 
shark, once more arriving before Arihi and the rest. When 
they came, he induced all but Arihi to climb Into trees which, 
by his magic power, he caused to grow tall and bend over; 


and he then struck the trees, whereupon the men who had tried 
to prevent him from accompanying Arihi fell off into the sea 
and were transformed into porpoises.^® 

The episode of the blind old woman, which occurs in sub- 
stantially the same form in Mangala and Tahiti, has already 
been discussed ^° in connexion with certain versions of Maui's 
snaring of the sun. The most important difference in the epi- 
sode as told of Tawhaki lies in the attempts made by the blind 
ogress to capture her tormentors. In one Tahitlan version 
obtained in the Tuamotu, Kui the Blind at first tried to en- 
tangle Tawhaki and Arihi in a net, the usual cannibal cus- 
tom, but failing in this, she essayed several other methods in 
vain until at last she swung her great fish-hook, with which 
she succeeded In catching Arihi. In the other version from here 
and in that from Mangala the hook seems to be the only 
weapon. At her first attempt her only prize was a log, but 
finally she succeeded in taking her human prey, which she 
released when she discovered that it was her grandson. In 
Mangala the whole episode Is attributed to Tane, not to 
Tawhaki, and several incidents are added which are not 
found in the other versions. According to this form of the story, 
Tane agreed to go with a friend, a chief named Ako, to aid 
him in prosecuting his suit for the hand of a beautiful maiden; 
but Tane himself fell in love with the fair one and endeavoured 
— though in vain — to win her away from his friend. Dis- 
gusted at his failure, he sought his canoe in order to return 
home, only to find that Ako had punctured the boat in re- 
venge for Tane's faithlessness. As It began to sink, Tane, to 
save himself from drowning, leaped into a tree near the shore, 
and swaying it violently, swung himself across the sea to a 
distant land. Then he met Kui the Blind, and the episodes of 
stealing her food and restoring her eyesight took place. 

Here again there is a repetition of the incident of the swaying 
tree, for Tane, having climbed to the top of a tall coco-nut- 
tree, caused it to bend far over until its top was above his own 

IX — 6 


home, whereupon he shook off the nuts and then caused the 
tree to spring back to its original position. This twice-repeated 
incident of the tree bending over to bring a person to a dis- 
tant land appears in slightly different form in the Tahitian 
account of Tawhaki's deeds,^! ^^^ seems not to be known else- 
where in Polynesia, although It occurs in Melanesia,^^ as well 
as in Indonesia.^ Whether the incident of Kui the Blind is to 
be regarded as originally belonging to the Tawhaki myth, 
which has been assimilated by the Maui cycle in certain cases, 
or vice versa, it is impossible to say. Tawhaki's search for his 
father involves the episode of the ascent to the sky in the New 
Zealand story, a feat usually accomplished by climbing a 
spider's web, although in some versions this is replaced by a 
cord or a vine, said to be let down by his heavenly ancestress. 
In the other recensions of the story, a journey to a distant land 
serves as a substitute. In the Rarotonga tale there are various 
dangers to be encountered, chief of which is the island or land 
of fierce women, all of whom wish to marry a rash intruder. 
Possibly it is not too hazardous to see in this an echo of the 
Melanesian tale of the "island of fair women" — a veritable 
Cythera where a man was in danger of dying of love if he should 
be enticed to land.^* 

The incident of the ascent to the upper world, as told in the 
New Zealand tale, appears in several myths and is quite wide- 
spread. In Polynesia, the spider's web as a means of approach 
seems to occur outside of New Zealand only in Hawaii,^ al- 
though farther afield it has been noted in the New Hebrides ^^ 
and the Carolines.^^ A rope, on the other hand, is not specifi- 
cally referred to elsewhere in Polynesia, but is found in Mela- 
nesia ^^ and Indonesia,^^ whereas ascent by means of a vine 
seems to appear only in Indonesia.^" The Hawaiian fragmen- 
tary version of Tawhaki (Kaha'i) makes him and his brother, 
Karihi (Aliki), reach the upper world by travelling on the rain- 
bow, there to inquire of Tane and Tangaloa where their father, 
Hema, had gone.^^ The Hawaiian Tawhaki myth is only a 


fragment, and may perhaps, as Fornander thinks, have been a 
direct importation from the south (Marquesas and Tahiti) 
by the immigrants who came thence to Hawaii.^^ Nowhere 
else in Polynesia and Melanesia, however, so far as observed, 
does the rainbow appear as a heavenly road, although it is so 
regarded in Indonesia,^^ whence the incident may be taken as 
one of several such purely Indonesian elements which occur 
in Hawaii but not elsewhere in Polynesia. It might be noted 
here that all the forms of the tale state that the captors of 
Tawhaki's father were cannibals, and the same is also true of 
the following legend, for Rata's parents were cannibals in some 
versions.^^ These cannibalistic people are, moreover, described 
as black. In rationalizing these myths. Smith ^^ and others 
regard this as referring to ancient encounters with Melanesian 
peoples in the islands west of Polynesia. 

Although the primary cause for Tawhaki's ascent to the 
sky was to seek for his father, in the New Zealand version he 
paid little attention to his parent's bones when found, but set 
off to seek powerful charms in the highest heavens. In the 
versions from the Cook Group and Tahiti the thread of the 
story is better sustained. In Rarotonga Tawhaki rescued his 
father from his enemies just as they were about to kill and roast 
him. In Tahiti, on the other hand, he found that his parent 
had been buried in filth by his captors, and from this un- 
pleasant predicament Tawhaki rescued him, after which the 
hero stretched nets about the house in which the perpetrators 
of this insult were gathered, set fire to the dwelling, destroying 
them all, and brought his father back in safety. According to 
the Hawaiian version, Tawhaki himself was killed while search- 
ing for his father, and it was Rata, his grandson, who finally 
obtained his revenge.^^ 

The quest and capture or death of Wahieroa at the hands of 
an evil monster appears also in Hawaii, Tahiti, and the Cook 
Group, although in somewhat different form. In the Tahitian 
version " Wahieroa and his wife left their child, Rata, in charge 


of Ui the Blind when they went off on a fishing expedition, 
but while they were gone, they were seized by a great bird, 
Matu 'u-ta 'u-ta 'uo, who swallowed Wahieroa and carried his 
wife to a distant land. Rata, who had never known his par- 
ents, was one day playing games with other children, but 
when he proved to be the victor, they angrily taunted him 
with being a foundling. Indignantly he asked the aged Ui, 
who at last confessed the truth, after trying to put him off, 
and told him how his parents had been abducted. Rata at 
once determined to seek for them and refused to be Influenced 
by the accounts of the dangers on the way. Next follows the 
incident of the building of Rata's canoe, so that, In slightly 
varying form, the story of the magic resurrection of the tree by 
the wood spirits and of their subsequent completion of the 
canoe for the hero in one night appears In several parts of 
Polynesia. ^^ 

The version from Altutaki treats the incident in a somewhat 
different light. Here Rata, on his way to cut a tree for a canoe, 
passed a heron and a snake who were fighting, and though the 
bird asked him for help, he went on unheeding and chopped 
down his tree. Returning the next day, he found it re-erected, 
so he felled it a second time, only to see It again erect and sound 
on the following day. At this he remembered the heron who 
had asked his aid and Its declaration that his canoe-making 
could not be finished without its help, so he sought for the 
combatants, now nearly exhausted, and killed the snake. 
Once more he cut down the tree, and then the heron, grateful 
for the aid rendered, assembled all the birds, who miraculously 
completed the canoe and carried it to Rata's house. Outside 
Polynesia the incident of the magic canoe appears in much 
the same form both in Melanesia ^^ and Indonesia.'*" The 
New Zealand version gives only a meagre account of Rata's 
voyage, whereas In the Cook Group this part of the story is 
amplified by several incidents. After his crew had been 
picked, and just as he was about to start, a man named Nganaoa 


asked to be allowed to go with him, offering to take care of 
the sails, to bale out the boat, or to do anything that Rata 
might wish. His request was refused, and the canoe sailed 
away, but Nganaoa had secreted himself on board and was 
discovered soon after Rata was out of sight of land. Angered 
at this trick. Rata threw his unasked companion overboard, 
thinking thus to be rid of him; but soon afterward, seeing a 
great gourd floating in the sea. Rata took it aboard, only to 
find Nganaoa concealed within it. This time the persistent 
fellow was threatened with death, but was finally permitted 
to remain with the party on his promising to aid Rata in 
destroying the monsters which beset the way. This promise 
Nganaoa made good, killing first a giant clam which threatened 
to close upon the canoe; next an enormous octopus which 
tried to drag the boat under the waves; and lastly a whale 
which was about to swallow the whole party. In this latter 
crisis Nganaoa first wedged the monster's jaws open with his 
spear and then jumped down its throat. In its belly the hero 
found his mother and father, who had, while fishing, been 
devoured by it; and with his fire-sticks Nganaoa kindled a 
flame inside the whale, which rushed ashore in agony, so 
that all came forth in safety. The episode of being swallowed 
by a sea-monster, the building of a fire within it, and the sub- 
sequent escape appears both in Melanesia ^^ and Indonesia *^ 
and very widely in a closely related form.^^ 

Rata's conflicts with the two cannibal giants, as told in the 
New Zealand versions, afford further points of comparison. 
The trap of the concealed pitfall covered by mats, on which 
the first giant tried to induce Rata and his men to sit, seems 
to be lacking elsewhere in Polynesia, but is found in Melanesia,^^ 
and appears also to be known in Indonesia."*^ The destruction 
of a cannibal giant or monster by means of red-hot stones is 
likewise an incident of wide distribution, occurring in Hawaii ^^ 
and Tahiti *'' within the Polynesian area, as well as in parts of 
Melanesia *^ and Indonesia.^^ 


Having now considered in some detail the series of legends 
which group themselves about Tawhaki and Rata, we may 
turn to a few other myths which do not form in any sense a 
connected series. Going back to the group of Maui tales, it 
will be remembered that one of the hero's exploits was the trans- 
formation of his brother-in-law into a dog. According to the 
New Zealand version of the story, Maui's sister, Hina-uri, was 
so distressed at the fate of her husband that in despair she 
threw herself into the sea. For many months her body drifted 
about until at last it was washed ashore, where it was found by 
two brothers, who brought it to their house and by their care 
restored it to life. Since Hina-uri was a beautiful woman, the 
two brothers fell in love with her and made her their wife, not 
knowing who she was; but after some time Tinirau, the chief 
of this district, heard of the charming stranger and took her 
from the brothers to be his own spouse. Tinirau already had 
two wives who at once became jealous of the new favourite 
and tried to kill her, but by her superior magic power she de- 
stroyed them. Although her famous brother, Maui, was not 
troubled over her loss, one of the younger Mauis (later known 
as Rupe) was deeply grieved and set out to search for her. In 
vain he sought her everywhere and finally determined to 
ascend to the heavens to consult his ancestor, Rehua, one of the 
children of Rangi and Papa. At last he penetrated from the 
lower heavens to the tenth, where he found his godlike ancestor, 
to whom he made himself known. To provide refreshment for 
his visitor, Rehua shook from his heavy hair a flock of birds, 
which he ordered to be cooked, but Rupe, fearing the tabu of 
Rehua's sacred head, refused to touch them. Learning from 
his ancestor where Hina-uri was, Rupe turned himself into a 
pigeon and flew down to the place in which she was living 
as the wife of Tinirau. Some of the chief's people tried to 
spear the bird, but he dodged their weapons and at last was 
recognized by his sister. Seizing his opportunity, Rupe took 
both her and her child and flew away with them to the heaven 


of Rehua, where he performed another task, an Augean labour, 
in that he cleansed the courtyard of Rehua's house, which had 
become incredibly filthy in course of time.^° 

With this we may compare a tale from Mangaia.^^ One day 
Ina or Hina was left alone by her parents and charged to watch 
carefully over the precious ornaments belonging to the family. 
These were coveted by Nanga, a great thief, who could work, 
however, only when the bright rays of the sun were clouded. 
Taking advantage of such an opportunity, he crept up and 
persuaded Ina to let him try on the beautiful ornaments, 
after which, by a ruse, he escaped from the house in which 
Ina thought to confine him and fled with the treasure. When 
her parents returned, they were very angry with Ina and beat 
her until she determined to run away. In her distress she called 
upon the fish to aid her and one after another they came and 
tried to carry her across the sea to the island-home of Tinirau, 
the king of fishes; but all were too small and weak for the task 
until a shark appeared who was able to bear the burden. Ina 
had with her two coco-nuts to serve as food and drink on the 
way, but when she broke one of them on the head of her fishy 
steed he became angry, and diving deep left Ina struggling 
in the waves. The greatest of all sharks, however, came to 
her rescue and bore her to her journey's end, where she found 
Tinirau's house, though he himself was absent. She accordingly 
beat upon a great drum which was there, and when Tinirau 
hurried back to see who had dared to invade his premises, he 
found Ina and took her as his wife. Ina's younger brother, 
Rupe, was sorrowing for his sister and resolved to seek her, 
therefore he entered into a small bird who flew across the sea 
to where his sister was. Here he disclosed himself and then, 
returning with the news of his sister's safety, brought both her 
parents to visit her and celebrated a festival in honour of her 
children. Other versions are known [from Nieue and the 
Chatham Islands,^^ but the tale seems not to have been re- 
corded elsewhere in the Polynesian area. One or two of the 


incidents will repay brief examination. The quest of a woman 
by a hero in the guise of a bird is, as has been seen, a feature 
of both versions outlined. This episode appears as one of 
Maui's minor deeds in Hawaii ^^ and in a somewhat variant 
form occurs likewise in legends from New Britain ^^ and the 
Admiralty Islands ^^ in Melanesia; while Ina's journey on a 
shark finds its counterpart in several tales where fish or sea- 
monsters act in a similar manner.^^ The special incident of the 
coco-nut being cracked on the head of a shark is also reported 
from New Britain. 

Several stories in the Polynesian area introduce the episode 
of the descent to the underworld of the dead, familiar to us 
from the classical myths of Orpheus, and in New Zealand, for 
instance, the origin of tatuing is thus explained. ^^ One day 
Mataora was asleep in his house when a party of Turehu (a 
people living in the underworld) came and discovered him. 
At first they made fun of Mataora, not knowing whether he 
was a man or no, for the Turehu were not as other folk; 
but while they were debating, he awoke, and proving himself 
to be a man, offered the visitors food. They, however, would 
not eat it, since it was cooked, and they ate only uncooked 
food, wherefore Mataora provided them with some raw fish, 
and when they had finished eating, they danced. Nuvarahu, 
one of the women of the Turehu, was very fair, and Mataora 
fell in love with her at first sight and took her for his wife. 
For a time all went well, but then, becoming jealous of his 
brother, who admired Nuvarahu, a quarrel arose in which 
Mataora beat his wife for her conduct. Angry at this treat- 
ment, she fled back to the underworld, but her husband grieved 
for his lost wife and resolved to seek her. From a man whom 
he met he learned that Nuvarahu had passed that way, and 
thus at length he reached the entrance to the underworld of 
Po, where he descended and sought news of Nuvarahu, learn- 
ing that she had passed, weeping bitterly. Finally he arrived 
at the village of his father-in-law Uetonga, who was engaged 


in tatuing a person. Until this time people in the world above 
had only* painted the designs upon their faces, but Uetonga 
cut the patterns deeply into the flesh, so that not only were the 
figures shown by the pigment, but the skin itself was carved. 
The people of the lower world laughed at Mataora, and when 
with their hands they had rubbed off the painting on his face, 
they showed him that their way of decorating, or ''''moko^'' 
could not be removed, for it was permanent. Mataora was 
pleased at this and asked to have his face tatued in the same 
way, whereupon Uetonga agreed, and as he chiselled the pat- 
terns, Mataora sang to ease the pain. The sound came to tne 
ears of Nuvarahu, who was weaving a mat near by, and from 
the song she recognized her husband. She cared for him while 
the tatu-wounds were healing, and for a time the pair lived 
happily together; but Mataora yearned to return to the world 
above and begged his wife to accompany him. At first reluc- 
tant, she at last consented, and they started on their way. 
Coming to the foot of the ascent, they met Tiwaiwaka, a bird, 
who asked where they were going; but when he was told, he 
counselled them to go back, for the upper world was full of 
evil, and not to return until summer, when it would be safe to 
make the ascent. This advice they followed, and as they started 
again up the slope to this world, they were induced to take 
with them the young of the owl, the bat, the rail, and the fan- 
tail, who thus came to the earth. At last Mataora and his 
wife reached the door leading into this world, but here a mis- 
fortune occurred, for Nuvarahu tried to carry with her a 
sacred garment made in the underworld. The guardian at the 
door discovered this and forced her to leave it behind; and 
when they had passed, he shut the door, so that never again 
might living men descend to the world below, but only the 
spirits of the dead. 

The episode of the descent to the underworld to seek a lost 
wife also appears in stories told of Tane.^^ After the earth 
had been formed, Tane desired a spouse, and shaping woman 


out of earth, he endowed her with life.^^ A daughter was born 
whom he called Hine-i-tau-ira and whom he also took to wife 
when she had grown up. Becoming curious to know who her 
father was, she inquired, and learning that Tane himself was 
her parent, she killed herself for shame. Descending to the 
underworld, she then became Hine-nui-te-po, the great god- 
dess of night, whom later Maui tried in vain to conquer. 
Tane was saddened by the loss of his wife and resolved to seek 
her in the world below. Passing one guardian after another, 
he at last reached the house where she had taken refuge, but 
although he knocked, he could not gain admittance. He 
begged her to return with him to the world of light above, 
but she refused, telling him that he must go back alone to 
nourish their progeny in the light of day, while she remained 
below to drag them down to darkness and death.^° So in sorrow 
Tane departed, and as he went, he sang this lament: 

"Are you a child, 
Am I a parent, 
That we are severed 

By Rohi-te-kura (trembling red bloom)? 
Throbbing is my lonely heart, 
Being left by you. 
In Te Rake-pohutukawa . . . 
I will enter and cry; 

I will pass out of sight through the door 
Of the house called 
Pou-tere-rangi . . . O mel"®^ 

In Mangaia of the Cook Group we also find a myth embody- 
ing this same episode.^^ Eneene's wife, Kura, with her sister 
was one day gathering sweet-smelling flowers from a great 
bua-treQ, but in trying to get more than her just share she 
leaned far out on a branch which broke and precipitated her 
to the ground. At this moment the earth opened, and Kura 
fell through into the underworld, whose people took her pris- 
oner and tied her to a post in a house to be kept until they 
were ready to kill and eat her, placing her under the guard of 


a blind old man who continually called to her and whom she 
answered, so that he knew that she was still safe. Her hus- 
band, discovering his loss, determined to seek her and by the 
aid of his guardian deity also penetrated to the underworld, 
where, after much searching, he heard the blind guardian 
calling Kura's name and so discovered her whereabouts. 
Stealthily climbing a tree, he gathered some coco-nuts and 
spread the scraped meats along the eight paths which led to 
the house in which his wife was imprisoned. The rats, smelling 
the good food, came in droves, and covered by the turmoil 
of their quarrelling over the booty, Eneene, the husband, was 
able to break through the roof of the house. Here he quickly 
cut the bonds of his wife and told her to run to the place where 
he had descended from the upper world while he stayed in 
her stead, imitating her voice as best he could whenever the 
blind guardian called. Having given her a good start, he then 
slipped away himself, joined his wife, and together they fled 
to the world of light, just escaping the pursuit of the baffled 
denizens of the world of shades. 

The Hawaiian tale of Hiku and Kawelu ®^ brings in some 
additional points of interest. According to this version, Hiku 
was a youth who had been brought up by his mother far away 
among the mountains and had never beheld other mortals 
until at last his desire to see the world induced him to leave his 
secluded retreat. Taking his magic arrow, he shot it into the 
air, and following its flight, watched where it fell. Travelling 
to this place, he shot it again, and thus led by it,®* he approached 
a village where the shaft dropped at the feet of a fair maiden 
named Kawelu, who quickly hid it.®^ Hiku at first was puz- 
zled, but calling out to his arrow, it answered him and thus 
revealed the hiding-place. So made acquainted, the pair 
fell in love and were married. One day Hiku, remembering 
his mother's injunction to return and see her, eluded his wife, 
who endeavoured to prevent his going, and escaped from the 
house where she tried to keep him prisoner; but when Kawelu 


discovered his absence she was heartbroken and soon died of 
grief. Apprised of her sorrow, Hiku returned In haste, but was 
too late and could only weep over her corpse. In despair, 
and stung by the taunts of his wife's friends who upbraided 
him for leaving his love, he determined to try to bring her 
spirit back from the underworld. With the help of his friends, 
he made a great length of rope, took with him a hollow coco- 
nut, and anointing himself with rancid oil, that he might 
smell like a corpse,^^ had himself let down through the opening 
to the world below, the odour of the fetid oil being so strong 
that all the shades were deceived, even MIru, the lord of the 
dead. The long rope or vine on which Hiku had been lowered 
formed a most excellent swing, and the denizens of the un- 
derworld were all anxious to try it,^'^ among these being 
Kawelu, who recognized her husband and gained permission 
to swing with him. So Interested was she in finding him and 
so greatly pleased was she with the swing that she did not 
notice the signal which Hiku gave to his friends above, who 
began to haul up the vine. When she was aware of the trick, 
she transformed herself into a butterfly and tried to escape; 
but Hiku was ready, and catching the fluttering thing in his 
coco-nut-shell, he was drawn rapidly to the upper world. 
With his precious burden he hastened to where the corpse of 
Kawelu lay, and making a hole in the great toe of the left 
foot, he forced the unwilling spirit to re-enter the body which 
it had left, and thus restored his wife to life and strength. 

A strikingly close parallel to this Hawaiian tale is found in 
New Zealand. ^^ Pare was a maiden of the highest rank, so 
high that there was none of her own tribe who could marry 
her. One day, when the people were amusing themselves with 
games at a festival, a stranger, a chief of high rank named 
Hutu, arrived by chance and joined in the contests. His skill 
was great, especially In throwing the niti^^'^ and once, when he 
hurled this, it flew far away and fell at Fare's feet. Quickly 
seizing the dart, she hid it in her house, but Hutu soon came 


in search of his lost plaything and asked Pare to return it. 
She refused, and smitten with love for the handsome stranger, 
begged him to take her as his wife; but Ignoring all her en- 
treaties, and in spite of force, he refused to accede to her wishes, 
and escaping, fled away, whereupon Pare shut herself up in 
her house In despair and hanged herself. When her relatives 
heard of this, they were full of anger and determined that 
Hutu must die, since he had been the cause of Pare's death; 
wherefore he was waylaid and brought a captive to the house 
in which her body lay. Told that he must die, he said: 
*'It is good, but do not bury Pare's corpse. Allow me to de- 
part. I will be absent three or four days, and then I will be 
here again. It is right that you kill me to appease your sor- 
row." Believing his promise to return, the people allowed 
him to depart, and Hutu accordingly hastened to the abode 
of the spirits of the dead to find Pare and bring her back 
to life. He came to Hine-nui-te-po and asked of her the 
way, giving her presents to bribe her Into telling him the 
truth. She showed him the road, cooked food for him, and 
told him to husband this supply, for, she said, "If you eat of 
the food belonging to the world of spirits, you will not be able 
to come back to this world." "^^ Descending to the nether realm, 
he sought for Pare and at last found where she was staying, 
but could not induce her to ascend, wherefore he joined with 
the other shades in games before her house in the vain attempt 
to lure her forth. At last he thought of a new device. Plant- 
ing a tall pole in the ground and tying a rope to the top, 
he ordered the people to pull upon it until the top of the pole 
was bent nearly to the ground. Then seating himself upon the 
tip of the pole, he took one of the company on his back and 
called to the people, "Let go your hold of the ropes and let the 
top of the tree fly up." They obeyed, and Hutu and his com- 
panion flew high in the air to the great delight of the people.'^ 
Tidings of this new mode of swinging were carried to Pare, 
who from curiosity went to watch it; and at last her desire to 


try the sport was so great that she begged Hutu to let her 
swing with him. This was just what he had planned, and tell- 
ing her to hold him firmly, he called to the people, "Pull the 
head of the tree down, even to the earth." They did so, and 
when the ropes were let go, the tree sprang up with so prodi- 
gious a jerk that the ropes were flung clear to the sky and were 
caught among the roots of the grasses and bushes growing in 
the world above. This was Hutu's opportunity, and climbing 
the ropes, he seized the grass at the entrance to this world and 
pulled himself up. Carrying his precious burden, he hastened 
to the house where the corpse of Pare was lying, and there the 
spirit of Pare, which he had brought from the world of shades, 
entered into her body, which became alive again. Then ac- 
ceding to her request, Hutu took her to be his wife. 

A somewhat different version of this Orpheus theme occurs 
also in Samoa, ^^ and it thus seems to be quite widely distributed 
In Polynesia. In Melanesia the episode appears, so far as 
noted, in the New Hebrides,^^ Banks Islands, ^^ and German 
New Guinea, ^^ and in the first two, at least. Instead of being 
ascribed to merely mythical persons. It is actually told of re- 
cent men. For Indonesia the episode does not seem to be 

An Incident whose distribution Is Instructive Is told by 
the Maori regarding Tura.^^ He once journeyed to a distant 
country, where he married a wife from the strange folk who 
inhabited It; but they were not human, for they preferred raw 
food to cooked, ^^ and Tura had to teach them the use of fire. 
When the time approached for his wife to bear a child, her 
female relatives came with obsidian knives. Curious to know 
why these were brought, Tura asked, and was told by his wife 
that her relatives intended to cut open her body In order that 
her child might be born, for this was the custom of her coun- 
try, adding that she herself must die as a result. Shocked at 
the Ignorance of the people, her husband told her that death 
was unnecessary and instructed her In the ways of human be- 


ings, after which he built a house of retreat where her child 
was born in normal fashion, and her life saved. With this we 
may compare a Rarotongan tale.'^^ Near a certain village 
was a spring from which, at the time of the full moon, a 
man and woman, whose home was in the underworld, used 
to emerge to steal food from the gardens of mortal men, taking 
this back with them and eating it raw. The villagers determined 
to catch the thieves, and so one night, after the latter had 
come up as usual, a net was spread in the spring, and when 
the pair returned the woman was caught, although the man 
escaped. The captive maiden, who was very fair, was taken 
to wife by the chief, and when, in due course of time, she told 
her husband that she was about to bear him a son, she begged 
him, after cutting open her body, to bury her carefully and 
cherish their child. Horrified at her proposal, which, she said, 
was the customary procedure in the underworld, he refused, 
with the result that the child was born in the normal manner, 
and the life of his spirit wife was saved. A similar tale is 
known from Nieue ^^ and Rotuma,^" in the latter instance the 
"unnatural people" being described as cannibals living in the 
sky. A Melanesian legend closely similar is reported from the 
Santa Cruz Group, ^^ and is also known from Micronesia.*^ 

Quite unlike these tales in character and feeling is the Maori 
story of Tama-nui-a-rangi and his wife Ruku-tia.*^ Once 
upon a time Tu-te-koro-punga visited Tama-nui-a-rangi, and 
becoming enamoured of his wife, took advantage of his host's 
temporary absence and carried her off. Apprised of her faith- 
lessness by his eldest child, Tama-nui-a-rangi hastened back 
and wept over his children, asking them why they had de- 
serted their mother. They replied; "She has forsaken you 
on account of your ugliness and has become enamoured of 
Tu-te-koro-punga, the noble-looking man." Telling them to 
remain at home, Tama-nui-a-rangi went off", and transform- 
ing himself into a crane, flew away to a strange country where 
he was trapped and caught. Resuming his human form, he 


told his captors that he had come to learn from them the 
way In which they marked their faces so beautifully and per- 
manently, for his face-decorations washed off whenever he 
bathed. The people referred him to his ancestors, and going 
to visit them, he begged them to ^^moko^^ (carve) his face.^^ 
The operation was very painful, and Tama-nui-a-rangi fainted 
several times, but at last it was completed, and now he was 
even more beautiful than he who had stolen Ruku-tia's affec- 
tions. Returning to his home, he comforted his children and 
set out to seek his wife. Her abductor had placed all sorts of 
obstructions In the way, but Tama-nui-a-rangi successfully 
forced a path through them until, disguised as an old man 
in filthy garments, he came to the place where his wife lived. 
That evening, as he sat unrecognized in the house of his enemy, 
Ruku-tia got up to dance, but by his charms he made her 
weep so that she was unable to continue; and later, removing 
his disguise, he secretly revealed himself to his wife, who begged 
him to take her home, for she no longer loved Tu-te-koro- 
punga, who beat her. But Tama-nui-a-rangi said: "No, stay 
with your husband. You left me because I was an ugly man. 
Now you must stay with Tu-te-koro-punga. Yet, if you wish 
to return with me, climb up upon a food-stage, and when the 
first streaks of day are seen, call out in a loud tone : 

'Shoot up, O rays, 
Of coming day! 
And also, moonbeams, 
Shine ye forth, 
To light the path 
Of the canoe of my 
Husband Tama.'" 

This said, the injured husband left at once and returned to his 
home, where he gathered a crew and sailed again for the is- 
land where Ruku-tia was living. As the dawn appeared, she 
climbed upon a food-stage and called out as Tama-nui-a-rangi 
had told her, Tu-te-koro-punga, hearing her song, could not 
believe that Tama-nui-a-rangi had been able to overcome the 


obstructions in his way; but the latter called out to Ruku-tia 
to jump into the sea and swim to him. This she did, and as 
she came near the side of the canoe, he caught her by the hair 
and with his axe cut off her head, thus punishing her for her 
evil deeds. Wrapping it up carefully, he turned swiftly home- 
ward and buried the head by his house. He now had his revenge, 
but was full of remorse, still mourning and yearning for his 
dead wife; and as he wept, he chanted this song: 

"Her praise is ever heard — 
'Tis praise of kindness. 
I am shorn of all, 
And live in silence, 
Friendless and alone. 
I would, could I 
But haste me 
Far up to the heavens. 
Oh! that wanderers from above 
Would come. 
That I might weep 
In the house of 
Him, the god of 
Blood-red crime! 

O spreading heaven! 
Urge me to be brave. 
And not with tears 
Atone for my spouse. 
Stir up my inmost 
Soul to deeds of daring 
For my fell calamity. 
Has Me-rau . . . 
Become extinct, 
That I for ever 
Still must weep 
Whilst day on day 
Succeeds, and each 
The other follows .'' 
Grief to grief now 
Gathers all my woe. 
And floods my heart with weeping; 
Yet I dread agony, 
And withdraw me 
At fear of e'en 
IX— 7 


One drop of rain. 

At eventide, 
As rays of twinkling stars 
Shine forth, I'll weep 
And gaze on them, 
And on the paths they take. 

But, Oh! I float 
In space for nought. 
Oh! woe is me! 
Like Rangi am. 
And Papa once divided. 
Flows with flood 
The tide of keen regret, 
And, severed once, 
For ever severed 
All our love." 

So Tama-nui-a-rangi lived alone In sorrow, but in the spring, 
when all the trees were blossoming, he heard a faint sound, as 
of the buzzing of a fly, which seemed to come from where he 
had buried the head of Ruku-tia; and uncovering the place, 
what was his joy to find her sitting there restored to life. All 
radiant with smiles, she rose to greet him, and each forgiven 
by the other, they started life anew. 

Another tale Is told of Rupe's sister, Hlne.^^ She was taken 
to wife by TInlrau, but he tired of her and left her for another. 
When HIne knew that she was soon to bear a child, she sent 
for TInlrau that he might prepare a special retreat for her and 
supply her with food; but though he came, he again left her 
alone after providing a secluded place. His neglect grieved her, 
and when the child was born, she called upon her brother 
Rupe, who, In the form of a pigeon, came and flew away with 
her and her child. ^^ In vain TInlrau begged her to return, 
but this she would not do, though partially relenting she 
dropped the Infant, which TInlrau caught and tenderly cared 
for. When the boy grew up he excelled all his playmates In 
games, and In retaliation they angrily taunted him with hav- 
ing no mother. ^^ Smarting under their jibes, the boy, Tu-huru- 
huru, asked where his mother was, and though TInlrau at first 


refused to say, he at last told the lad, who determined to set 
out immediately to find her. His father accordingly gave him 
much advice, bidding him to blacken himself with soot that 
he might look like a slave, and also telling him that, if he was 
asked to pour water for Rupe to drink, he should pour it on 
his nose; and that if his mother should dance, he must repeat 
a certain chant. Thus counselled, Tu-huru-huru set out, and 
coming to the village where Hine lived, was promptly taken 
to Rupe's house as a slave. Carrying out his father's instruc- 
tions, he angered Rupe, who struck him, whereupon Tu-huru- 
huru wept and murmured to himself, "I thought, when I 
came, that Rupe was my relation, and Hine-te-iwa-iwa was 
my mother, and Tinirau was my father"; but Rupe did not 
hear him. Later his mother danced, and when he repeated 
the chant which his father had taught him, she became angry 
and struck the boy, who repeated his lament as above. His 
mother heard and realized that she had beaten her own son. 
Her joy in the discovery was great, and she and Rupe accom- 
panied Tu-huru-huru back to his home, where Tinirau held 
the baptismal ceremony for him, and he was baptized by Kae. 
Now Kae wished to return to his home and begged from 
Tinirau the loan of his pet whale, who carried him wherever 
he wanted to go. With many misgivings Kae's request was 
granted, and Tinirau gave him instructions as to how to treat 
the whale, but Kae disregarded them, and running the whale 
upon the beach, he killed it and cut it up. Tinirau waited many 
days for his pet to return, but in vain, until at last the south 
wind brought the sweet savour of the whale's flesh, which was 
being cooked by Kae and his friends. Thus Tinirau knew of 
Kae's faithlessness ana resolved to be revenged; but the culprit 
was very clever and could be caught only by a ruse. So Tinirau 
sent his wife and several women to find Kae, telling them 
that they might know him by his broken tooth, and Instructing 
them to dance and sing comic songs so as to make people 
laugh, since only by this means would they be able to dis- 


cover the telltale mark. All this they did, and thus detected 
the criminal. That night they repeated a charm which threw 
all the inmates of the house into a deep sleep, and seizing Kae, 
they carried him to their canoe and brought him, still insensible, 
to Tinirau's home, where they laid the captive in a position 
in the house exactly similar to that in which he had been lying 
in his own, lit a fire, and set out food. Then Tinirau waked 
Kae, saying, "O, old man, look and see if this is your own 
bed"; and Kae, dazed, and not realizing but that he was still 
at home, said, "Yes, it Is my own bed." Then Tinirau asked 
him to come and have food, directing him to sit upon a bed 
of leaves and ferns that had been placed over a heated area 
to conceal It. After Kae had seated himself and reached out 
to take of the food offered him, the women poured water on 
the leaves and ferns, and when this penetrated to the hot 
stones below, the steam rushed up and scalded Kae to death. ^^ 

Recalling some of the earlier tales of cannibals, the Maori 
story of Houmea presents certain other Interesting features.^' 
One day when Uta, the husband of Houmea, returned from 
catching fish for his wife and two children, he summoned her 
to the shore to help carry up his catch; but she did not come, 
and when he went to the house to upbraid her, she excused 
herself, saying that she had been prevented by the disobedi- 
ence of the children. Leaving Uta at the house, she then went 
down to the canoe, where she ate up all the fish, scattering the 
grass and trampling down the bushes, after which she made 
many tracks, both large and small. In the sand, that It might 
look as though a marauding party had come and stolen them. 
Returning to the house all out of breath, she declared that 
the fish had been stolen and that from the tracks the thieves 
were evidently of supernatural origin. Uta pretended to be 
convinced and went to sleep. 

Next day he again went fishing, and on his return his wife 
once more failed to come when called. She gave the same ex- 
cuse, but as he started off, Uta secretly sent the two children 


to spy upon her; and they, quickly coming back, told their 
father the truth, so that when Houmea returned and a second 
time pretended that the fish had been stolen, Uta convicted 
her out of the mouths of the boys. She loudly denied her 
guilt, however, and in her heart resolved to be avenged upon 
the children. Accordingly, on the following day, after Uta 
had gone fishing as usual, she sent one of them off to get water, 
and then enticing the other boy to her, she swallowed him 
whole. When the first child returned, she gulped him down 
also, and lay groaning on the floor when Uta came home. 
He asked her what was the trouble, and she said she was ill, 
and when asked where the children were, declared that they 
had gone away; but Uta knew that she was lying and by a 
powerful charm soon caused her to disgorge the two boys, 
who were none the worse for what they had experienced. 

It was clear that Houmea was a very dangerous person, and 
so Uta and his children resolved to escape before it was too 
late. Counselling his sons not to obey him when he asked 
them to go for water, he thus induced Houmea to go instead; 
but after she had left Uta, by a charm, caused the water to 
dry up and retreat before her, so that she was obliged to go 
very far before she could find any.^*^ When the ogress had de- 
parted, Uta and the children fled to the canoe, after ordering 
the house, the trees, and various objects round about to answer 
for them, should Houmea call; ^^ and then, without losing more 
time he paddled hastily away. At last Houmea returned with 
the water, and not seeing any one as she approached, called 
out to Uta and the children. First one thing and then another 
answered for them, and Houmea went hither and thither, 
each time thinking that she heard their voices until at last 
she discovered the ruse and realized that her prey had escaped. 
Looking out to sea, she beheld the canoe, now a mere speck on 
the horizon, and resolving to follow, she entered into the body 
of a shag and hurried after the fugitives. As she approached, 
Uta was overcome with fear and hid beneath the deck of the 


canoe, but Houmea came on, her mouth wide open to swallow 
all, and asked the two children, "Where is my food?" They 
first cast her some fish, but she was not satisfied and asked 
for more, whereupon, telling her to open her mouth wide, as 
they were about to give her a large fish, they took a hot stone 
from the oven with the wooden tongs, and throwing it down 
her throat, burned her to death. 

A Maori tale ^^ that purports to record some of the reasons 
for the traditional emigration from the ancestral fatherland 
Includes incidents which are of value from a comparative 
standpoint. A dog belonging to Houmai-tawaltl had committed 
an act of desecration on Uenuku for which it had been killed 
and eaten by the latter and Toi-te-hua-tahi. Tama-te-kapua 
and his brother, the sons of the owner of the dog, sought for 
it everywhere, calling it by name. When they came to the 
village where Toi-te-hua-tahi lived, the dog howled in his 
belly, and though Toi-te-hua-tahi held his mouth tightly shut, 
the dog kept howling loudly inside him so that Tama-te-kapua 
discovered the guilty person. Resolved to be avenged, Tama- 
te-kapua and his brother returned home and made a pair of 
stilts on which, when night came, they went and ate the fruit 
from the poporo-tree belonging to Uenuku. This continued 
for several nights until the fruit was nearly gone, but at last 
Uenuku discovered the theft, and looking for traces of the 
robber, found the marks of the stilts. Lying In wait the next 
night with some of his followers, he succeeded In catching 
Tama-te-kapua's brother, but Tama himself ran away. He 
was, however, caught on the shore, and his captors said, 
"Chop down his stilts so that he may fall into the sea," 
whereupon Tama-te-kapua called out, "If you fell me In the 
water, I should not be hurt, but If you cut me down on shore, 
the fall will kill me." So he deceived them, and they chopped 
him down on the shore, and he fell, but quickly picking himself 
up, ran swiftly away and escaped. His brother, Whakaturia, 
was left, however, and after debating how to kill him, his 


captors decided to hang him up under the roof of Uenuku's 
house that he might slowly stifle in the smoke. No sooner said 
than done; and lighting a fire, they began to dance and sing 
very badly, continuing to do so every night. After a time the 
news of his brother's plight reached Tama-te-kapua, who 
determined to go and see if perchance his brother still lived. 
Secretly climbing on the roof, he made a small opening over 
the place where Whakaturia was suspended and whispered to 
him. The poor fellow was still alive, and when he told his 
brother how the people were always dancing, and that they 
danced badly, Tama-te-kapua thought of a scheme to free the 
captive. Acting on his suggestions, Whakaturia called out when 
the dancing had begun on the following night, and told the 
people that they did not know how to dance or sing. Asked 
if he was better skilled in dancing, he declared that he was 
and that If they would let him down and give him the proper 
accoutrements, he would prove what he said. Suspecting no 
guile, they did as he suggested, and he delighted them with 
his skill. Meanwhile Tama-te-kapua came secretly and stood 
outside the door, which his brother had asked to have opened a 
little on account of the heat; and at a given signal Whakaturia 
darted through the opening, while Tama-te-kapua quickly 
shut and barred the door and window. After this he and his 
brother ran away, leaving their enemies helpless; and when the 
pair were safely gone, someone passing by heard the cries of 
the imprisoned people and set them free. The feature of par- 
ticular interest In this tale is the Incident of the deceitful ad- 
vice by which the captive persuades his captors to kill him In 
the one way which he knows will not be fatal. So far as pub- 
lished materials go, this incident does not seem to occur else- 
where In Polynesia, and no Instance of it has as yet been re- 
ported In Melanesia. It Is, however, common In Indonesia, ^^ 
and is, as Is well known, wide-spread elsewhere. 

The Polynesian people had numerous astronomical myths, of 
which the following may serve as examples. The Maori say 


that one night Rona went to get water from a neighbouring 
stream, but as she went the moon, which had been shining, 
disappeared behind a cloud, so that In the gloom Rona stum- 
bled over stones and roots and in her anger cursed the moon, 
saying, "Oh, you cooked-headed moon, not to come forth and 
shine!" At this the moon was displeased, and coming down at 
once to earth, seized Rona and carried her away. In vain she 
caught hold of a tree; it was torn up by the roots, and Rona, 
her water-gourd, basket, tree, and all were taken up by the 
moon, where they may all still be seen.^^ Other versions de- 
scribe Rona as a man who, according to some, reached the 
moon in pursuit of his wife. He is said to be the cause of the 
waning of the moon, for he eats It, and is himself devoured by 
it, both then being restored to life and strength by bathing in 
the "living waters of Tane," after which they renew their 
struggle. ^^ In the Cook Group there is a tale of the moon's 
becoming enamoured of one of the beautiful daughters of Kul 
the Blind, so that he descended and carried her off with him, 
and she may be seen in the moon with her piles of leaves for 
her oven and her tongs to adjust the coals. She is always at 
work making tapa, and this and the stones used for weighting 
it when spread out to bleach are also visible. From time to 
time she throws these stones aside, thus producing a crash 
which men call thunder.^^ 

The majority of the Hawaiian myths and tales so far pub- 
lished seem rather local In character, but some present fea- 
tures of Interest from the comparative point of view. Such, 
for example, is the tale relating to the Pounahou spring." 
The wife of a certain chief died, leaving him with twins, a boy 
and a girl, of whom their father was very fond. Thinking to 
secure them better care, he married a second wife, but the 
step-mother soon became jealous of the children, although in 
her husband's presence she treated them kindly enough. The 
day came when the father had to be away for some time on a 
journey, and then his wife's hatred for the step-children had 


full scope, so that she persecuted and maltreated them un- 
ceasingly, although they were not without aid, for the spirit 
of their own mother was constantly assisting and protecting 
them. At last, unable longer to endure their step-mother's 
malevolence, they ran away, and after being driven from one 
refuge to another, finally sought a cave where they lived 
for some time. Again discovered by their unrelenting op- 
pressor, they fled to another more secret cave where they were 
unmolested, and where the brother, aided by a water spirit, 
made a spring and bathing-pool for his sister, which are to be 
seen to this day. Later their father returned, and hearing of 
the cruelty of his wife, first slew her and then committed 
suicide. The tale, though simple and of merely local import- 
ance, has a somewhat wider interest in that it would seem to 
be the only Polynesian instance of the "wicked step-mother 
theme," which, in almost exactly this form, is found in In- 
donesia ^^ as well as Micronesia, ^^ and in a closely related 
fashion in Melanesia. ^°° This same theme, moreover, is wide- 
spread in Indonesia in a more general recension (i. e. without 
the miraculous aid given by the true mother) ^°^ and also oc- 
curs in Melanesia. ^°^ 

Another example of somewhat similar type is the story of 
Kapipikauila.^"^ On the northern coast of the island of Molokai 
is a very precipitous cliff upon whose summit Kapipikauila 
once dwelt, but becoming enamoured of Hina, the beautiful 
wife of another man, he tempted her away and took her for 
his own. Her first husband, Hakalanileo, lamenting his loss, 
knew not what to do, for the heights of Haupu were inaccessi- 
ble; and so he wandered about, seeking for some strong hero 
to aid him to recover his wife. First he met Kamaluluwalu, a 
strong man, one of whose sides was stone and one flesh. He 
threw a great stone up until it struck the sky, and as it fell, 
caught it on his stony side; but this feat was not enough to 
satisfy Hakalanileo, who went in search of another hero. One 
after another he met, but none proved to have the strength 


he thought was necessary until at last NIkeu, surnamed the 
Rogue, heard of the fruitless quest, and kicking over the trees 
as he went, met Hakalanileo and carried him to the house of 
Kaua; but in terror at the fierceness of this hero the hapless 
husband fled, when Kaua, stretching forth his hand, seized 
him and brought him back. After hearing the story, Kaua at ' 
once espoused his cause and ordered Nikeu to get a canoe forth- 
with, but since the latter did not succeed immediately, Kaua 
stretched out his hand, and scratching among the forests, 
brought forth two canoes which he placed upon the beach, 
after which, taking his magic rod, he embarked with the 
others and set off to be avenged upon Kapipikauila. 

On the way a great reef impeded their progress, but this 
was destroyed by means of the magic staff; and a second 
danger, in the form of a mighty wall of water, was passed by 
the same means, which also served to overcome several great 
sea-monsters that disputed the way. At last they came to 
Haupu, and Nikeu the Rogue was sent to climb up the cliff 
and bring back Hakalanileo's captive wife. Twice he tried in 
vain, but the third time he succeeded in reaching the top, and 
entering the house of Kapipikauila, led Hina away before the 
astonished inmates realized what was happening. When they 
awoke to the fact, the enraged Kapipikauila sent a flock of 
birds to desecrate the head of Nikeu, which was sacred; and 
after they had done this, in very shame he let go of Hina, who 
was then seized and carried back by the birds. Returning to 
Kaua and the others below, he at first tried to conceal the 
cause of his failure, but at last was forced to confess. Then 
Kaua resolved to fight. Standing up in the canoe, he stretched 
himself until he was as tall as the heights of Haupu, but his 
adversary was equal to the occasion, for cutting off the branches 
of a magic tree which grew upon the summit of the cliff, he 
caused the cliff to stretch upward also. But as the precipice 
rose, Kaua stretched himself likewise; and thus they strove 
one with the other until Kaua was as lean as a banana stalk 


and at last as thin as a spider's web — but still the cliff rose, 
and Kaua confessed himself beaten. 

Then he laid his great length down upon the sea, so that his 
head reached across to Kona, in Hawaii, where his grandmother 
fed him and nursed him until he grew plump and fat again. 
Poor Nikeu, however, was left hungry, watching the feet of 
Kaua; and when he saw these regain their fullness, he could 
resist no longer, but severed one and ate It. After a time the 
pain crept along the vast length of the body of Kaua to his 
head, far away in Kona, and only then did he know that 
his foot had been cut off. Now, however, he was restored to 
strength and returned to the attack. First he severed all the 
branches of the magic tree by whose aid Kapipikauila had 
before been able to vanquish him; and then he revealed him- 
self and began once more to stretch. This time the enemy was 
helpless and could not cause the cliff to grow in height, so that 
Kaua, stretching himself until he overtopped the rocks of 
Haupu, slew Kapipikauila and brought Hina back to Haka- 
lanileo. Then tearing down the cliff, he hurled great pieces of 
it into the sea where they stand to this day, being known to 
all as "The Rocks of Kaua." In this tale it is the episode of 
the hero's stretching which is of interest for comparative 
purposes, since this seems not to be recorded elsewhere in 
Polynesia, although It occurs both In Melanesia ^""^ and in 
Micronesia. ^°^ 


IN the foregoing pages we have endeavoured to present some 
of the more important and characteristic myths from Poly- 
nesia. Forced to give undue emphasis to three or four of the 
many groups because of the paucity of material from all but 
these, we may, nevertheless, gain a pretty clear impression of 
the type of tales once current throughout the entire area. 

In the presentation of the material and in its discussion 
resemblances have been pointed out between the various 
island-groups, both within and without Polynesia; but this 
has been done only for individual tales or striking incidents, 
and no attempt has been made to summarize the results. 
The fact of wide-spread relationship has probably become 
evident, but the conclusions which may legitimately be drawn 
are not perhaps apparent. Unless we are to depend entirely 
upon impressions, some sort of statistical method must ob- 
viously be employed. While these are particularly liable to 
lead to erroneous conclusions because of the fragmentary 
and unequal quality of the available material, we must use 
some such method to extract meaning from the mass of in- 
dividual similarities. All myths, as we have them, may be 
analyzed into a series of separate incidents. This group of 
incidents may, and indeed often does, remain intact for long 
periods, and may be transmitted as a unit from one people 
or area to another. Very often, however, in the course of time 
or in transmission one or other of these drops out or is mod- 
ified, and new ones are added; so that the result may be a 
tale quite unlike the original, but in which certain of the orig- 


inal Incidents survive. Individual incidents also may be widely 
transmitted, and by the study of the distribution of these much 
may be learned as to historic associations, lines of migration, 
and cultural relationships. Myths, then, as we find them, are 
of complex origin, the product of long modification, decay, and 
accretion. If now we consider the mythology of Polynesia from 
the standpoint of Its constituent elements, i. e. Its Incidents, 
much light may be thrown on Its growth as a whole, on the In- 
terrelationship of the mythology of the different Island-groups, 
and on the kinship which the mythology of this area bears to 
that of adjoining ones. For a really satisfactory study of this 
sort relatively complete material from the whole region Is 
needed; but unfortunately, as already pointed out, this is not, 
and probably never will be, available. Incomplete records from 
certain island-groups inevitably lead to erroneous conclusions 
in regard to the distribution of Incidents, but with all due allow- 
ance for these sources of error, and emphasizing the tentative 
character of the results obtained. It Is perhaps worth while to 
see what conclusions may be drawn from the data which we 

Within Polynesia Itself such a study of the distribution of 
myth-incidents leads to results of interest. Perhaps the most 
striking of these is the apparently close relationship between 
Hawaii and New Zealand, the two most widely separated 
groups within the area, since of the Hawaiian episodes oc- 
curring elsewhere In Polynesia two-thirds are found In New 
Zealand, while In the much closer Cook and Society Groups 
only about one-third appears. New Zealand's similarities are 
closest with the Cook Group (as Indeed they should be, see- 
ing that the bulk of the historic immigration came from there), 
but the number of agreements with Hawaii Is very nearly as 
great, and a strong relationship to Samoa Is also apparent. 
Considering other groups, Samoa Is most closely affiliated with 
the Cook Group and New Zealand, and only secondarily with 
Tonga. Central Polynesia, I. e. the Cook Group, Society, 


and Marquesas, seems to form more or less of a unit with 
affiliations running in all directions. 

If the character of the incidents themselves be considered, 
and not merely the number of agreements, it appears that in 
the case of Hawaii and New Zealand the episodes which are 
common to these two groups are, for the most part, other 
than those which either shares with the geographically in- 
termediate Cook or Society Groups. Similarly, although New 
Zealand's affiliation with Samoa is nearly as strong as with 
Hawaii, the incidents which it possesses in common with the 
former are, generally speaking, quite distinct from those which 
it shares with the latter. The logical explanation of such a 
condition would seem to be that Polynesian mythology is, 
as a whole, a complex of incidents derived from different 
sources, one portion of the area having received its material 
mainly from one source, another from another. Thus the myths 
of any individual group, such as New Zealand, would be the 
result of a blending of two or more streams of incidents, or, 
to vary the figure, would be composed of different strata super- 
imposed in a definite historical order. 

In the presentation of the myths, as given in the preceding 
pages, frequent reference has been made to the occurrence 
of similar incidents in Melanesia and Indonesia; whence a 
consideration of the number and proportions of these similari- 
ties in different parts of Polynesia may be expected to throw 
light on this question of sources. The Melanesian area lies 
immediately adjacent to Polynesia on the west, and we may 
first consider how far incidents found in Polynesia also occur 
in Melanesia. Theoretically, any community of episodes dis- 
covered between these two areas might be due to transmission 
in either direction, i. e. from Polynesia to Melanesia, or from 
Melanesia to Polynesia. Inasmuch, however, as a great mass 
of evidence derived from other sources points to the drift of 
peoples from west to east in the Pacific area, we may reason- 
ably regard the bulk of the similarities as due to transmission 


from west to east; i. e. that the incidents common to Melanesia 
and Polynesia are at least in part of Melanesian origin. As- 
suming for the moment that this is true, it is obvious that we 
may have two sorts of agreement: incidents of Melanesian 
origin (or at least of wide Melanesian distribution) which occur 
only in a single group or in a restricted area in Polynesia; and 
Melanesian incidents which are current over a considerable 
portion or the whole of the Polynesian area. Beginning with 
a consideration of the first of these types, it appears that about 
one-sixth of the myth-incidents peculiar to the Hawaiian 
group, and not found elsewhere in Polynesia, occur also in 
Melanesia. As regards Samoa, however, almost half of the 
episodes which are purely local and confined to Samoa, so 
far as Polynesia is concerned, are recorded in Melanesia. 
In New Zealand the comparable figure rises to nearly three- 
fourths; but, on the other hand, there are practically no 
episodes of this type in the Society and Cook Groups. It 
is clear, then, that from this point of view there is a very 
strong Melanesian element in New Zealand and Samoa, 
while it is weak in Hawaii and apparently absent from 
the Society and Cook Groups. The individual incidents of 
Melanesian similarity are, moreover, different in each case, 
one series being found in New Zealand, another in Samoa, and 
a third in Hawaii. Moreover, we must note that the Mela- 
nesian incidents showing similarity with the Hawaiian are 
current, so far as our present information goes, only in the 
Admiralty Islands and New Britain; whereas those occurring 
in Samoa and New Zealand are more widely distributed 
and are especially characteristic of eastern Melanesia. The 
influence, therefore, exerted on Hawaiian mythology by that 
of Melanesia would seem to have been not only slight, but local- 
ized, as if the wave of Polynesian immigrants which settled in 
Hawaii had merely touched the northern edge of Melanesian 
territory. On the other hand, the ancestors of those who 
reached Samoa and New Zealand must have passed through 


much of eastern Melanesia and been subjected to a contact 
of greater length and intensity. 

If we now examine the second type of agreements the re- 
sults are somewhat different. We are here dealing with myth- 
incidents which are not confined to single portions of Poly- 
nesia, but are common to two or more island-groups. Of this 
class of episodes Hawaii shows a fifth which are of Melanesian 
origin, the Society Group slightly less, the Cook Group and 
Samoa slightly more, and New Zealand nearly one-half. The 
latter area, again, reveals by far the strongest Melanesian 
affinities, while Hawaii, Samoa, and the Cook Group have a 
much smaller proportion, with the Society Group showing 
the minimum. It is fairly well established that Hawaii re- 
ceived a considerable influx of population from central Poly- 
nesia between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, and the 
obvious inference is that the Melanesian incidents which 
Hawaii shares with this group are in large part to be traced 
to this migration. The great proportion of Melanesian inci- 
dents in New Zealand would argue a strong infusion of this 
darker blood among the Maori. 

Nearly all the recognized theories as to the origin of the 
Polynesian peoples bring them in one way or other from the 
Indonesian area, and ascribe to them only a temporary stay 
in Melanesia en route to their homes in historic times. In 
pointing out similarities of Incident during the presentation 
of Polynesian mythology, the Indonesian affinities have fre- 
quently been mentioned, and we must now examine these in 
the same way In which the Melanesian resemblances have 
just been considered. Following our former order of treatment, 
we may first investigate those myth-incidents which, although 
localized in some one Island-group in Polynesia, also have an 
Indonesian or extra-Polynesian distribution. Of the impor- 
tant incidents of this type in Hawaii, fully half occur also in 
Indonesia; but in Samoa and New Zealand, on the other hand, 
the proportion sinks to about one-eighth. Here again, as 


with the Melanesian incidents, the series of episodes In com- 
mon are different for each group; but the conditions are ex- 
actly reversed, for whereas In regard to Melanesian affinities 
Hawaii shows but few, though New Zealand and Samoa possess 
a large number, in respect to Indonesian similarities Hawaii 
is strong, while New Zealand and Samoa are weak. The In- 
ference would seem to follow, therefore, that Hawaii has pre- 
served a larger proportion of its original Indonesian inherit- 
ance than the other Polynesian groups, while in New Zealand 
and Samoa this original element has been largely lost or over- 
laid with borrowed Melanesian Incidents. If Instead of taking 
the localized Incidents we consider those of general Polyne- 
sian distribution which are also found outside its bounds, 
much the same general results are obtained, although the 
disproportion between the different island-groups is not so 
marked. Of this type of incidents Hawaii has nearly a fifth 
that are also found in Indonesia; the Society and Cook Groups, 
taken together, about one-tenth; and Samoa and New Zealand 
even less. The relatively high proportion of Indonesian inci- 
dents in central Polynesia is worthy of note in this connexion, 
as indicating that here the ancestral material was not so largely 
overlaid by elements of Melanesian origin as was the case in 
Samoa, which Is geographically nearer to Melanesia and which 
for many generations had had close trade relationships with 
its eastern margin. 

One other line of investigation throws some light upon the 
course of development of Polynesian mythology. The Indone- 
sian Incidents, whose general distribution In Polynesia has 
just been discussed, have been such as occur in Indonesia and 
Polynesia, but not in the intervening areas of either Melanesia 
or Micronesia. If the Polynesian ancestors passed through 
either of these regions in the course of their movement from 
west to east, we might expect to find the evidences of such 
migration in the presence of Indonesian incidents in Melane- 
sian and Microneslan mythologies. This Is precisely what 
IX — 8 


does occur, and thus one class of Incidents is found in Indo- 
nesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia, and another in these areas 
and in Micronesia as well. Of the first, Hawaii shows the 
smallest proportion, followed by central Polynesia, Samoa, 
and New Zealand, in the order given. Of the second, Hawaii 
shows the largest proportion, followed by the other island- 
groups in the same order as above, only with much greater 
differences between the extremes, i. e. Hawaii shows five times 
as many incidents of this most widely distributed type as does 
New Zealand. It thus becomes once more apparent that 
Hawaii has had less Melanesian influence brought to bear 
upon it than the rest of Polynesia, and also that it shows close 
relationship to Micronesia. 

To sum up, then, it may be said that from a study of 
the distribution of myth-incidents Polynesian mythology, as 
known to us today, bears evidences of a composite origin. 
The facts may be reasonably explained by assuming that the 
ancestors of the Polynesian people were immigrants from the 
west and that they came into the area in at least two waves : 
an earlier, one branch of which, barely touching the edge 
of northern Melanesia, passed northward into Hawaii, while 
the main body delayed longer in Melanesian territory and 
extended over the remainder of the area; and a later, which, 
after traversing Melanesia, spread mainly through western 
and central Polynesia to New Zealand, and afterward sent 
an offshoot from the central region northward to Hawaii. 
The latter group and New Zealand, owing to their compara- 
tive isolation, preserved more of their early inheritance, 
whereas in the remainder of the area this original material was 
much changed and largely overlaid by the tales introduced by 
the later immigrant wave. There are, to be sure, various 
legends which do not exactly fit with this theory, but it at least 
serves as a working hypothesis and harmonizes remarkably 
with the data obtained from the study of other aspects of 
Polynesian culture. 


In the foregoing discussion of Polynesian mythology no 
attempt has been made to explain or to interpret the various 
myths. Although some of them undoubtedly show features 
characteristic of sun-myths, moon-myths, and so forth, and 
although certain scholars have recognized a solar and lunar 
cycle of tales of supposedly separate origin, it seems wise to go 
very slowly in any such investigations. It has been so clearly 
demonstrated that, in the transmission and migration of myths, 
the original form of the tale may become so greatly modified 
by the elimination of some incidents and the absorption of 
others as quite to change its meaning and application, and 
it has been demonstrated that myths originally told to ac- 
count for or to explain one phenomenon ultimately come to 
be applied to a very different one. Consequently we need a 
much more detailed knowledge of the whole Oceanic area be- 
fore trustworthy conclusions can be reached. 



GEOGRAPHICALLY Melanesia naturally falls into two 
divisions: New Guinea with the smaller adjacent 
islands forming one, and the long series of islands lying to the 
north and east of it, from the Admiralty Group to New Cale- 
donia and Fiji, constituting the other. From the anthropo- 
logical point of view the population of the Melanesian area is 
exceedingly complex, being composed of a number of different 
racial types. While detailed knowledge of the area is still too 
fragmentary to render conclusions other than tentative, it 
may be said that at least three groups can be recognized. Pre- 
sumably most ancient and underlying all others, though now 
confined to certain of the more inaccessible parts of the in- 
terior of New Guinea and possibly to some few islands of the 
Eastern Archipelago, are a number of Negrito or Negrito-like 
tribes in regard to which we thus far have only the scantiest 
details. The bulk of the population of the interior of New 
Guinea, of considerable stretches of its southern, south- 
western, and northern coasts, and of portions of other islands 
forms a second stratum known as Papuan. Mythological 
material from them is exceedingly scanty. The third type is 
that which occupies much of south-eastern New Guinea, to- 
gether with part of its northern and north-western coasts, and 
forms the majority of the inhabitants of the islands reaching 
from the Admiralty Islands to Fiji. Strictly speaking, the 
term Melanesian should be applied to this group only; and 
from it and the Papuo-Melanesian mixtures the greater part 
of the myth material at present available has been derived. 


It is quite evident that no adequate presentation of the myth- 
ology of the whole Melanesian area, using the term in its 
broader geographical sense, can as yet be made; the most 
that can be done is to present an outline of the material de- 
rived from what is clearly the latest stratum of the population 
and to supplement this, when possible, by such fragmentary 
information as we possess from the older Papuan Group. Of 
Negrito mythology, here, as in the case of Indonesia, abso- 
lutely nothing is known. 


APPARENTLY one of the clearest characteristics of the 
mythology of the Melanesian area is the almost total 
lack of myths relating to the origin of the world. With one or 
two exceptions, the earth seems to be regarded as having 
always existed in very much the same form as today. In the 
Admiralty Islands ^ a portion of the population believed that 
once there was nothing but a wide-spread sea; and one myth 
states that In this sea swam a great serpent,^ who, desiring a 
place on which he might rest, called out, "Let the reef rise!", 
and the reef rose out of the ocean and became dry land. An- 
other version differs in that a man and a woman, after having 
floated upon the primeval sea, climbed upon a piece of drift- 
wood and wondered whether the ocean would dry up or not. 
At last the waters wholly retired, and land appeared covered 
with hills, but barren and without life; whereupon the two 
beings planted trees and created foods of various sorts. In 
New Britain, among the coastal tribes of the Gazelle Penin- 
sula,' we find the familiar story of the fishing of the land from 
the bottom of the sea, a task which was accomplished by the 
two culture hero brothers, To-Kabinana and To-Karvuvu, 
some of whose other deeds will be recounted later. The same 
story in slightly greater detail is found also in the southern 
New Hebrides.^ This conception of a primeval sea is found 
widely in central Polynesia, Micronesia, and Indonesia, and 
it is perhaps significant that it apparently occurs in Melanesia 
only on its northern margin, where contact with non-Melane- 
sian peoples would theoretically be expected. A much closer 


afRliation with Polynesia is shown, however, in another class 
of origin-myths to which we may now turn. 

If there is little interest in the beginning of the world in the 
Melanesian area, the same cannot be said of the origin of man- 
kind, for on this subject there is considerable and widely 
variant material. Three types of myths may be recognized: 
one, that in which mankind is directly created by some deity 
or pre-existing being; second, that in which man comes into 
being spontaneously or magically; and, third, that where man- 
kind descends to earth from the sky-land. 

In the Admiralty Islands it is said ^ that Manual was alone 
and longed for a wife; so he took his axe, went into the forest, 
and cut down a tree, and after he had fashioned the trunk into 
the figure of a woman, he said, "My wood there, become a 
woman!", and the image came to life. In the Banks Islands a 
somewhat more elaborate tale is told.® Qat was the first to 
make man, cutting wood out of the dracaena-tree and forming 
it into six figures, three men and three women. When he had 
finished them, he hid them away for three days, after which 
he brought them forth and set them up. Dancing in front of 
them and seeing that they began to move, he beat the drum 
before them, and they moved still more, and "thus he beguiled 
them into life, so that they could stand of themselves." Then 
he divided them into three pairs as man and wife. Now 
Marawa, who was a malicious, envious fellow, saw what Qat 
had made and determined to do likewise. So he took wood of 
another sort, and when he had fashioned the images, he set 
them up and beat the drum before them, and gave them life 
as Qat had done. But when he saw them move, he dug a pit 
and covered the bottom with coco-nut fronds, burying his 
men and women in it for seven days; and when he dug them 
up again, he found them lifeless and decomposed, this being 
the origin of death among men.'^ According to another ver- 
sion from this same area,^ while the first man was made of red 
clay by Qat, he created the first woman of rods and rings of 


supple twigs covered with the spathes of sago palms, just as 
they make the tall hats which are used in the sacred dances. 

A tale of the creation of man from earth is told in the New 
Hebrides.^ "Takaro made from mud ten figures of men. When 
they were finished, he breathed upon them, breathed upon 
their eyes, their ears, their mouths, their hands, their feet, 
and thus the images became alive. But all the people he had 
made were men and Takaro was not satisfied, so he told them 
to light a fire and cook some food. When they had done so, he 
ordered them to stand still and he threw at one of them a 
fruit, and lo! one of the men was changed into a woman. Then 
Takaro ordered the woman to go and stay by herself in the 
house. After a while, he sent one of the nine men to her to ask 
for fire, and she greeted him as her elder brother. A second 
was sent to ask for water, and she greeted him as her younger 
brother. And so one after another, she greeted them as rela- 
tives, all but the last, and him she called her husband. So 
Takaro said to him, 'Take her as your wife, and you two shall 
live together.'" A still different version is that from New 
Britain.^" In the beginning a being drew two figures of men 
upon the ground, and then, cutting himself with a knife, he 
sprinkled the two drawings with his blood and covered them 
over with leaves, the result being that they came to life as 
To-Kabinana and To-Karvuvu. The former then climbed a 
coco-nut-tree which bore light yellow nuts, and picking two 
unripe ones, he threw them to the ground, where they burst 
and changed Into two women, whom he took as his wives. 
His brother asked him how he had come to be possessed of the 
two women, and To-Kablnana told him. Accordingly, To- 
Karvuvu also climbed a tree and likewise threw down two 
nuts; but they fell so that their under side struck the ground, 
and from them came two women with depressed, ugly noses. 
So To-Karvuvu was jealous because his brother's wives were 
better looking than his, and he took one of To-Kablnana's 
spouses, abandoning the two ugly females who were his own. 


Another version ^^ from the same region brings out more clearly 
the distinction between the characters of the two brothers and 
serves, moreover, to account for the two marriage classes into 
which the people are divided. To-Kabinana said to To-Kar- 
vuvu, "Do you get two light-coloured coco-nuts. One of them 
you must hide, then bring the other to me." To-Karvuvu, 
however, did not obey, but got one light and one dark nut, and 
having hidden the latter, he brought the light-coloured one to his 
brother, who tied it to the stern of his canoe, and seating him- 
self in the bow, paddled out to sea. He paid no attention to 
the noise that the nut made as it struck against the sides of his 
canoe nor did he look around. Soon the coco-nut turned into 
a handsome woman, who sat on the stern of the canoe and 
steered, while To-Kabinana paddled. When he came back to 
land, his brother was enamoured of the woman and wished to 
take her as his wife, but To-Kabinana refused his request and 
said that they would now make another woman. Accordingly, 
To-Karvuvu brought the other coco-nut, but when his brother 
saw that it was dark-coloured, he upbraided To-Karvuvu and 
said: You are indeed a stupid fellow. You have brought 
misery upon our mortal race. From now on, we shall be 
divided into two classes, into you and us." Then they tied 
the coco-nut to the stern of the canoe, and paddling away as 
before, the nut turned into a black-skinned woman; but when 
they had returned to shore, To-Kabinana said: "Alas, you have 
only ruined our mortal race. If all of us were only light of 
skin, we should not die. Now, however, this dark-skinned 
woman will produce one group, and the light-skinned woman 
another, and the light-skinned men shall marry the dark- 
skinned women, and the dark-skinned men shall marry the 
light-skinned women." And so To-Kabinana divided man- 
kind into two classes. 

Turning now to the second type of tales of the origin of man- 
kind, the belief in a direct or indirect origin from birds may 
first be considered. In the Admiralty Islands, according to 


one version,^^ a dove bore two young, one of which was a bird 
and one a man, who became the ancestor of the human race 
hy incestuous union with his mother. Another recension ^^ 
has it that a tortoise laid ten eggs from which were hatched 
eight tortoises and two human beings, one man and one woman; 
and these two, marrying, became the ancestors of both light- 
skinned and dark-skinned people. At the other extremity of 
Melanesia, in Fiji," it is said that a bird laid two eggs which 
were hatched by Ndengei, the great serpent, a boy coming 
from one and a girl from the other. A variant of this is found 
in Torres Straits where, according to the Eastern Islanders, a 
bird having laid an egg, a maggot or worm was developed from 
it, which then was transformed into human shape. ^^ 

Myths of the origin of men or of deities from a clot of blood 
are of interest in their relation to other areas in Oceania. 
One version again comes from the Admiralty Islands.^® A 
woman, named Hi-asa, who lived alone, one day cut her finger 
while shaving pandanus strips. Collecting the blood from the 
wound in a mussel-shell, she put a cover over it and set It 
away; but when, after eleven days, she looked In the shell. It 
contained two eggs. She covered them up, and after several 
days they burst, one producing a man and the other a woman, 
who became the parents of the human race.^'^ In the neigh- 
bouring Island of New Britain ^^ one account gives a similar 
origin for the two brothers To-Kabinana and To-Karvuvu. 
While an old woman was wading In the sea searching for shell- 
fish, her arms pained her, and so, taking two sharp strips of 
pandanus, she scratched and cut first one arm and then the 
other.^^ The two strips of pandanus, thus covered with her 
blood, she laid away In a heap of refuse which she Intended to 
burn; but after a time the pile began to swell, and when she 
was about to set fire to it, she saw that two boys had grown 
from her blood — from the blood of her right arm, To-Kabi- 
nana, and from that of her left arm, To-Karvuvu. ^° At several 
points in German New Guinea ^^ we find similar tales of chll- 


dren originating from clots of blood, although here, we must 
note, they are not considered as the parents of mankind. 

An origin of the human race from plants seems definitely 
stated only in the Solomon Islands,^^ where it is said that two 
knots began to sprout on a stalk of sugar-cane, and when the 
cane below each sprout burst, from one issued a man and from 
the other a woman, these becoming the parents of mankind.-^ 
With this we may compare the tales from New Britain. ^^ 
Two men (sometimes described as To-Kabinana and To- 
Karvuvu) were fishing at night, and while they were so en- 
gaged a piece of wild sugar-cane floated into the net, where 
it became entangled. Disengaging it, they threw it away, but 
again it was enmeshed and was once more discarded. When, 
however, it was caught for the third time, they determined to 
plant it, and did so. Taking root, the cane grew, and after a 
time it began to swell, until one day, while the two men were 
absent at work, the stalk burst and from it came out a woman 
who cooked food for the men and then returned to her hid- 
ing-place. The two came back from their work and were 
much surprised to find their food ready for them; ^ but since 
the same thing occurred the next day, on the following morn- 
ing they hid themselves to see who it was that had prepared 
their food. After a time the stalk opened and the woman 
came out, whereupon they immediately seized her and held 
her fast. In some versions, the woman then became the wife 
of one of the men, and all mankind are supposed to be descended 
from the pair. An origin of the first woman from a tree and of 
the first man from the ground is given by the Papuan tribes 
of Elema in British New Guinea; ^^ while in the New Hebrides -^ 
the first female being is said to have sprung from a cowrie- 
shell which turned into a woman. 

An origin of man from stone is told by the Baining of New 
Britain. 2s At first the only beings in the world were the sun 
and the moon, but they married, and from their union were 
born stones and birds, the former subsequently turning into 


men, the latter Into women, and from these the Baining are 
descended. The origin of Qat himself is ascribed in the Banks 
Group ^^ to a stone, which in the beginning burst asunder and 
gave birth to the culture hero — a concept which recalls the 
tales of the source of the first supernatural beings in Tonga, 
Celebes, and the Union and Gilbert Groups. The third type 
of myths of the beginning of mankind has thus far been re- 
ported apparently only from one portion of German New 

Although Melanesia seems characteristically to lack myths 
of the origin of the world, a tale recounting the source of the 
sea is quite widely spread. As told by the Baining In New 
Britain,^^ the story runs as follows. In the beginning the sea 
was very small — only a tiny water-hole, belonging to an 
old woman and from which she got the salt water for the 
flavouring of her food. She kept the hole concealed under a 
cover of tapa cloth, and though her two sons repeatedly asked 
her whence she obtained the salt water, she refused to answer. 
So they determined to watch and eventually surprised her in 
the act of lifting the cover and dipping up the salt water. 
When she had gone they went to the spot and tore the cover 
open; and the farther they tore, the larger became the water- 
hole. Terrified by this, they ran away, each carrying a corner 
of the cloth; and thus the water spread and spread until it 
became the sea, which rose so that only a few rocks, covered 
with earth, remained above It. When the old woman saw 
that the sea constantly grew larger, she feared that the entire 
world would be covered by it, so she hastily planted some 
twigs along the edge of the shore, thus preventing the ocean 
from destroying all things.^^ 

Of the origin of the sun and moon various tales are told. 
In the Admiralty Islands it is said ^^ that when the sea had 
dried so that man appeared, the first two beings, after plant- 
ing trees and creating food plants, made two mushrooms, one 
of which the man threw Into the sky, creating the moon, while 


the woman tossed the other upward and formed the sun. 
A different account is given by the people of southern British 
New Guinea.^* According to this, a man was digging a deep 
hole one day when he uncovered the moon as a small bright 
object. After he had taken it out, it began to grow, and finally, 
escaping from his hands, rose high into the sky. Had the moon 
been left in the ground until it was born naturally, it would 
have given a brighter light; but since it was taken out pre- 
maturely, it sheds only feeble rays. With this we may compare 
a tale from German New Guinea ^^ which recounts how the 
moon was originally kept hidden in a jar by an old woman. 
Some boys discovered this, and coming secretly, opened the 
jar, whereupon the moon flew out; and though they tried to 
hold it, it slipped from their grasp and rose into the sky, bear- 
ing the marks of their hands on its surface. The people of 
Woodlark Island have another tale in which the origin of the 
sun and moon is connected with the origin of fire. According 
to this,^^ in the beginning an old woman was the sole owner of 
fire, and she alone could eat cooked food, while other people 
must devour theirs raw. Her son said to her: "You are cruel. 
You see that the taro takes the skin off our throats, yet you 
do not give us fire with which to cook it"; but since she proved 
obdurate, he stole some of the flame and gave it to the rest of 
mankind. In anger at his action, the old woman seized what 
was left of her fire, divided it into two parts, and threw them 
into the sky,^^ the larger portion thus becoming the sun, and 
the smaller the moon. 

In all of these myths the sun and moon seem to be regarded 
as inanimate objects, or at least as such in origin. Another 
group of tales, however, considers them to be living beings. As 
an example we may take the version given by one of the tribes 
of the Massim district of British New Guinea.^^ One day a 
woman who was watching her garden close to the ocean, see- 
ing a great fish sporting in the surf, walked out into the water 
and played with the fish, continuing to do this for several 


days. By and by the woman's leg, against which the fish had 
rubbed, began to swell and became painful until at last she 
got her father to make a cut in the swelling, when out popped 
an infant.^^ The boy, who was named Dudugera, grew up 
among the other children of the village until one day, in play- 
ing a game, he threw his dart at the other children rather than 
at the mark, whereupon they became angry and abused him, 
taunting him with his parentage/" Fearing lest the others 
might really harm him, Dudugera's mother determined to 
send him to his father; so she took the boy to the beach, where- 
upon the great fish came, seized him in his mouth, and carried 
him far away to the east. Before he left, Dudugera warned 
his mother and relatives to take refuge under a great rock, 
for soon, he said, he would climb into a pandanus-tvee and 
thence into the sky, and, as the sun, would destroy all things 
with his heat.'*^ So indeed it came to pass, for excepting his 
mother and her relatives, who heeded Dudugera's advice, 
nearly everything perished. To prevent their total annihila- 
tion his mother took a lime-calabash, and climbing upon a hill 
near which the sun rose, cast the lime into his face as he came 
up, which caused the sun to shut his eyes and thus to decrease 
the amount of heat.^^ 

The concept that originally there was no night is rather 
characteristic of Melanesian mythology: day was perpetual 
and night was discovered or brought to mankind. In the 
Banks Islands, after Qat had formed men, pigs, trees, and rocks 
he still did not know how to make night, for daylight was con- 
tinuous. His brothers said to him, "This is not at all pleasant. 
Here Is nothing but day. Can't you do something for us?" 
Now Qat heard that at Vava In the Torres Islands there was 
night, so he took a pig, and went to Vava, where he bought 
night from I-Qong, Night, who lived there. Other accounts 
say that Qat sailed to the edge of the sky to buy night from 
Night, who blackened his eyebrows, showed him sleep and 

taught him how to make the dawn. Qat returned to his brothers, 
IX — 9 


bringing a fowl and other birds to give notice of the dawn. 
He begged his brothers to prepare beds of coco-nut fronds. 
Then for the first time, they saw the sun sinking in the west, 
and they cried out to Qat that it was crawling away. "'It will 
soon be gone,' said he, 'and if you see a change on the face of 
the earth, that is night.' Then he let go the night. 'What 
is this coming out of the sea,' they cried, 'and covering the 
sky.^' 'That is night,' said he, 'sit down on both sides of the 
house, and when you feel something in your eyes, lie down and 
be quiet.' Presently it was dark, and their eyes began to blink. 
'Qat! Qat! what is this.'' Shall we die.'" 'Shut your eyes,' 
said he, 'that is it, go to sleep.' When night had lasted long 
enough the cock began to crow and the birds to twitter; Qat 
took a piece of red obsidian and cut the night with it; the 
light over which the night had spread itself shone forth again, 
and Qat's brothers awoke." ^ 

Myths of the origin of fire present a number of Interesting 
types in the Melaneslan area. We may begin with the form 
widely current in British New Guinea. According to a ver- 
sion told by the Motu,"*^ the ancestors of the present people 
had no fire, and ate their food raw or cooked it in the sun until 
one day they perceived smoke rising out at sea. A dog, a snake, 
a bandicoot, a bird, and a kangaroo all saw this smoke and 
asked, "Who will go to get fire?" First the snake said that he 
would make the attempt, but the sea was too rough, and he 
was compelled to come back. Then the bandicoot went, but 
he, too, had to return. One after another, all tried but the dog, 
and all were unsuccessful. Then the dog started and swam 
and swam until he reached the island whence the smoke rose. 
There he saw women cooking with fire, and seizing a blazing 
brand, he ran to the shore and swam safely back with it to the 
mainland, where he gave it to all the people.'*^ 

Some of the Massim tribes of eastern British New Guinea ^^ 
give quite a different origin, according to which people had 
no fire in the beginning, but simply warmed and dried their 


food in the sun. There was, however, a certain old woman 
called Goga who thus prepared food for ten of the youths, but 
for herself she cooked food with fire, which she obtained from 
her own body."*^ Before the boys came home each day, she 
cleared away all traces of the fire and every scrap of cooked 
food that they should not know her secret; but one day a 
piece of boiled taro accidentally got among the lads' food, and 
when the youngest ate It, he found it much better than what 
was usually given him. The youths resolved to discover the 
secret, so the next day, when they went to hunt, the youngest 
hid at home and saw the old woman take the fire from her 
body and cook with it. After his companions had returned, 
he told them what he had seen, and they determined to steal 
some of the fire. Accordingly, on the following day they cut 
down a huge tree, over which all tried to jump, but only the 
youngest succeeded, so they selected him to steal the fire. He 
waited until the others had gone, and then creeping back to 
the house, he seized the firebrand when the old woman was not 
looking, and ran off with it. The old woman chased him, but 
he jumped over the tree, which she was unable to do. As he 
ran on, however, the brand burned his hand, and he dropped 
it in the dry grass, which caught the blaze and set fire to a 
pandanus-lTQe which was near. Now, in a hole in this tree, 
lived a snake, whose tail caught fire and burned like a torch. 
The old woman, finding that she could not overtake the thief, 
caused a great rain to fall, hoping thus to quench the fire,^^ 
but the snake stayed in his hole, and his tail was not extin- 
guished. When the rain had stopped, the boys went out to 
look for fire, but found none, because the rain had put it all 
out; but at last they saw the hole in the tree, pulled out the 
snake, and broke off its tail, which was still alight. Then mak- 
ing a great pile of wood, they set fire to it, and people from all 
the villages came and got flame, which they took home with 
them. "Different folk used dlfi"erent kinds of wood for their 
firebrands and the trees from which they took their brands 


became their pitani (totems)." A snake in this tale plays the 
part of the saviour of fire; but In other forms of the myth the 
serpent is the real source or bringer of flame. A version from 
the Admiralty Islands "^^ runs as follows: The daughter of 
Ulimgau went into the forest. The serpent saw her, and said, 
"Come!" and the woman replied, "Who would have you for a 
husband? You are a serpent. I will not marry you." But he 
replied, My body is indeed that of a serpent, but my speech 
is that of a man. Come!" And the woman went and married 
him, and after a time she bore a boy and a girl, and her serpent 
husband put her away, and said, "Go, I will take care of them 
and give them food." And the serpent fed the children and they 
grew. And one day they were hungry, and the serpent said 
to them, "Do you go and catch fish." And they caught fish 
and brought them to their father. And he said, "Cook the 
fish." And they replied. The sun has not yet risen." By and 
by the sun rose and warmed the fish with its rays, and they 
ate the food still raw and bloody. Then the serpent said to 
them, "You two are spirits, for you eat your food raw. Per- 
haps you will eat me. You, girl, stay; and you, boy, crawl 
into my belly." And the boy was afraid and said, "What shall 
I do.^" But his father said to him, "Go," and he crept into the 
serpent's belly. And the serpent said to him, "Take the fire 
and bring it out to your sister. Come out and gather coco-nuts 
and yams and taro and bananas." So the boy crept out again, 
bringing the fire from the belly of the serpent. And then hav- 
ing brought the food, the boy and girl lit a fire with the brand 
which the boy had secured and cooked the food. And when 
they had eaten, the serpent said to them, "Is my kind of food 
or your kind of food the better.?" And they answered. Your 
food is good, ours is bad." ^° 

Similar to this in that the igneous element was obtained 
from snakes, but on the other hand suggesting affinities with 
the fire-quest of the Polynesian Maui, is a myth current in 
New Britain. ^^ There was once a time when the Sulka were 


Ignorant of fire; but one day a man named Emakong lost one 
of his ornaments, which fell into a stream. Taking off his loin- 
cloth, he jumped in and dove to recover the lost object, but 
was amazed, on reaching the bottom, to find himself in the 
yard of a house. Many people came up and asked him his name, 
and when he replied that he was called Emakong, one of them 
said, "Oh, that is also my name," whereupon he took the be- 
wildered man to his house and gave him a new loin-cloth. 
Great was Emakong's astonishment to see a fire In the house. 
At first he was afraid of it, but after he had been given cooked 
food and had found this much better than the raw viands which 
he had always eaten before, he lost his fear of the new thing. 
When It became night, the crickets began to sing and this 
also alarmed him, for In the world above there was no night, 
and crickets were unknown. His terror became still greater, 
however, when he heard resounding claps of thunder from every 
side and saw all the people turn Into snakes In order to sleep. 
His namesake reassured him, however, and said that he need 
not fear, for this was their custom, and that when day should 
come again, all would return to their human form. Then, with 
a loud report, he also changed Into a snake, and Emakong alone 
retained the shape of man. In the morning, when the birds 
sang to announce the coming day, he awoke, and with a crash 
all the serpents again turned into men. His namesake now 
did up a package for him, containing night, some fire, some 
crickets, and the birds that sing at dawn, and with this Ima- 
kong left, rising through the water. On reaching the shore, 
he threw the fire into dry grass, but when the people saw 
the blaze and heard the crackling of the flame, they were 
greatly alarmed and all fled. Emakong, however, ran after 
them and telling them of his adventures, explained to them 
the use of the things that he had brought. 

Although not cosmogonic in the stricter sense of the term, 
we may conveniently include here the myths given to account 
for the origin of death. According to the version current in 


Ambrym,^^ the good and the malicious deities were discussing 
man after he had been made. The former said: "Our men 
seem to get on well, but haven't you noticed that their skins 
have begun to wrinkle? They are yet young, but when they 
are old, they will be very ugly. So when that happens, we will 
flay them like an eel, and a new skin will grow, and thus men 
shall renew their youth like the snakes and so be immortal." 
But the evil deity replied: "No, it shall not be that way. When 
a man is old and ugly, we will dig a hole in the ground and put 
the body in it, and thus it shall always be among his descend- 
ants." And because the one who has the last word prevails, 
death came into the world.^' 

With this we may compare another form of myth as told in 
the Banks Islands,^* according to which, in the beginning men 
did not die, but cast their skins like snakes and crabs, and thus 
renewed their youth. One day an old woman went to a stream 
to change her skin and threw the old one into the water where, 
as it floated away, it caught upon a stick. When she went 
home, her child refused to recognize her in her new and youth- 
ful form, and to pacify the infant, who cried without ceasing, 
she returned and got her old skin, and put it on again. From 
that time men have ceased to cast their skins and have died 
when they grew old. 

According to other tales, death was due to a mistake. Thus 
in the Banks Islands it is said ^^ that in the beginning men 
lived forever, casting their skins, and that the permanence of 
property in the same hands led to much trouble. Qat, there- 
fore, summoned a man called Mate ("Death") and laid him on 
a board and covered him over; after which he killed a pig and 
divided Mate's property among his descendants, all of whom 
came and ate of the funeral feast. On the fifth day, when the 
conch-shells were blown to drive away the ghost, Qat removed 
the covering, and Mate was gone; only his bones were left. 
Meanwhile Qat had sent Tagaro the Foolish to watch the 
way to Panoi, where the paths to the underworld and the upper 


regions divide, to see that Mate did not go below; but the 
Fool sat before the way of the world above so that Mate de- 
scended to the lower realms; and ever since that time all men 
have followed Mate along the path he took. 

Still another explanation is that death was due to disobe- 
dience. Thus the Baining in New Britain say ^® that one day 
the sun called all things together and asked which wished to 
live forever. All came except man; so the stones and the snakes 
live forever, but man must die. Had man obeyed the sun, he 
would have been able to change his skin from time to time like 
the snake, and so would have acquired immortality. 

As a last example of this class of myths we may take one 
which attributes the origin of death to Ingratitude. In the 
Admiralty Group one account ^^ states that a man once went 
out fishing; but since an evil spirit wished to kill and eat him, 
he fled Into the forest. There he caused a tree to open, and 
creeping Inside, the tree closed again, so that when the evil 
being came, he did not see his victim and went away, where- 
upon the tree opened, and the man came out. The tree said 
to him, "Bring to me two white pigs," so the man went to his 
village and got two pigs, but he cheated the tree In that he 
brought only a single white one, the other being black whitened 
with chalk. For this the tree rebuked him and said: "You 
are unthankful, though I was good to you. If you had done 
what I had asked, you might have taken refuge In me when- 
ever danger threatened. Now you cannot, but must die." 
So, as a result of this man's ingratitude, the human race Is 
doomed to mortality and cannot escape the enmity of evil 

Of deluge-myths from the Melaneslan area, only a few have 
been reported which do not bear the marks of missionary in- 
fluence. As told in British New Guinea,^^ the story runs that 
once a great flood occurred, and the sea rose and overflowed 
the earth, the hills being covered, and people and animals hurry- 
ing to the top of Tauaga, the highest mountain. But the sea 


followed and all were afraid. Yet the king of the snakes, Rau- 
dalo, did not fear. "At last he said to his servants, 'Where 
now are the waters?' And they answered, 'They are rising, lord.' 
Yet looked he not upon the flood. And after a space he said 
again, 'Where now are the waters.^' and his servants answered 
as they had done before. And again he inquired of them, 'Where 
now are the waters.^' But this time all the snakes, Titiko, 
Dubo and Anaur, made answer, 'They are here, and in a mo- 
ment they will touch thee, lord,' 

"Then Raudalo turned him about, . . . and put forth his 
forked tongue, and touched with the tip of it the angry waters 
which were about to cover him. And on a sudden the sea rose 
no more, but began to flow down the side of the mountain. 
Still was Raudalo not content, and he pursued the flood down 
the hill, ever and anon putting forth his forked tongue that 
there might be no tarrying on the way. Thus went they down 
the mountain and over the plain country until the sea shore 
was reached. And the waters lay in their bed once more and 
the flood was stayed." 

Another tale ^^ from this same region presents features of 
interest. One day a man discovered a lake in which were many 
fish; and at the bottom of the lake lived a magic eel, but the 
man knew it not. He caught many fish and returned the next 
day with the people of his village whom he had told of his dis- 
covery; and they also were very successful, while one woman 
even laid hold of the great eel, Abaia, who dwelt in the depths 
of the lake, though he escaped her. Now Abaia was angry 
that his fish had been caught and that he himself had been 
seized, so he caused a great rain to fall that night, and the 
waters of the lake also rose, and all the people were drowned 
except an old woman who had not eaten of the fish and who 
saved herself in a tree,^° The association of snakes and eels 
with the deluge In these tales strongly suggests the type of 
deluge-myth current in parts of Indonesia,^^ and known also 
apparently in the Cook Group.^^ 


From the examples given it may be seen that the origin- 
myths of Melanesia show clear evidence of composite origins. 
From small groups like the Admiralty Islands several quite 
different legends accounting for the same thing have been col- 
lected, and throughout the whole area a striking variety exists. 
In how far we are justified In attributing one set of myths to 
the older Papuan stratum and another to the later Melane- 
sian layer is very difficult to say, since but little from the 
purer Papuan tribes of the area has as yet been recorded. 
Comparison with Polynesia and Indonesia suggests that the 
myths of the origin of the sea, of mankind as originally hav- 
ing had the power to renew their youth by changing skins, 
and of the obtaining of fire from or with the aid of snakes, were 
primarily Papuan, for no traces of either appear In Indonesia, 
and only the former is found in somewhat mutilated form In 
Samoa, but nowhere else In Polynesia. Other themes, however, 
such as the origin of human beings from eggs or from a clot 
of blood, are widely known In Indonesia and also occur in 
western and south-western Polynesia, and would seem to be 
Immigrant elements from the great culture stream which, 
passing from Indonesia eastward Into the Pacific, swept with 
greatest strength the north-eastern and south-eastern parts 
of Melanesia. 


ONE of the most noteworthy features of Melanesian myth- 
ology is the prominence of tales relating either to two 
culture heroes, one of whom Is, as a rule, wise and benevolent, 
while the other is foolish and malicious; or to a group of 
brothers, usually ten or twelve in number, two of whom, one 
wise and one foolish, are especially outstanding. Thus a rudi- 
mentary sort of dualism is developed which stands In rather 
marked contrast to Indonesian mythology, while showing 
points of contact with Polynesian and Micronesian ideas.^ 

In New Britain we have already seen how To-Karvuvu un- 
successfully imitated To-Kabinana In the making of woman; 
and in the local forms of the myth of the origin of death It 
was To-Karvuvu who cried and refused to recognize his mother 
when she had shed her skin and become rejuvenated, so that 
he was thus directly responsible for the entrance of death into 
the world. A few other examples of his foolishness may be 
given from the same region. According to one of these tales,^ 
To-Kabinana and To-Karvuvu were one day walking In the 
fields when the former said to the latter, "Go, and look after 
our mother." So To-Karvuvu went, filled a bamboo vessel 
with water, poured It over his mother, heated stones In the 
fire, killed her, and laid her In the oven to roast, after which 
he returned to To-Kabinana, who asked him how their parent 
was and If he had taken good care of her. To-Karvuvu re- 
plied, "I have roasted her with the hot stones," whereupon 
his brother demanded, "Who told you to do that.?" "Oh," 
he answered, "I thought you said to kill her!" but To-Kabi- 


nana declared, "Oh, you fool, you will die before me. You 
never cease doing foolish things. Our descendants now will 
cook and eat human flesh." ^ 

On another occasion To-Kabinana said to his brother, 
"Come, let us each build a house," and accordingly each con- 
structed a dwelling, but To-Kabinana roofed his house out- 
side, while his foolish brother covered his on the inside. Then 
To-Kabinana said, "Let us make rain!" so they performed 
the proper ceremony, and in the night it rained. The dark- 
ness pressed heavily on To-Karvuvu so that he sat up, and the 
rain came through the roof of his house and fell upon him, and 
he wept. In the morning he came to his brother, saying, 
"The darkness pressed upon me, and the rain-water wet me, 
and I cried." But when To-Kabinana asked, "How did you 
build your house.''" the other replied, "I covered it with the 
roof covering inside. It is not like yours." Then they both 
went to look at it, and To-Karvuvu said, "I will pull it down 
and build like yours. " But his brother had pity on him and 
said, "Do not do that. We will both of us live together in my 
house." ^ 

Many of the evil or harmful things in the world were the 
work of the foolish brother. One day To-Kabinana carved a 
Thum-fish out of wood and let it float on the sea and made it 
alive so that it might always be a fish; and the Thum-fish. 
drove the Malivaran-fish. ashore in great numbers so that 
they could be caught. Now To-Karvuvu saw them, and asked 
his brother where were the fish that forced the Malivaran-fish. 
ashore, saying that he also wished to make some. Accordingly, 
To-Kabinana told him to make the figure of a Thum-fish., but 
instead the stupid fellow carved the effigy of a shark and put 
it in the water. The shark, however, did not drive the other 
fish ashore, but ate them all up, so that To-Karvuvu went 
crying to his brother and said, " I wish I had not made my fish, 
for he eats all the others"; whereupon To-Kabinana asked, 
"What kind of a fish did you make.''" and he replied, "A 


shark." Then ToKabinana said, "You are indeed a stupid 
fellow. You have brought it about that our descendants shall 
suffer. That fish will eat all the others, and he will also eat 
people as well." ^ 

The characters of the two brothers are seen to be quite 
clearly distinguished, To-Karvuvu being in these tales (as in 
many others from this same area ^) foolish or stupid rather 
than designedly malicious, although his follies are usually re- 
snonsible for the troubles and tribulations of human life; 
v.'hereas To-Kabinana, on the other hand, appears as actively 
benevolent, his well-intentioned deeds in behalf of mankind 
being frustrated by his brother. Tales of a similar type have 
been collected at one or two points on the German New 
Guinea shore, ^ but appear to be much less common than among 
the coast population of New Britain. From British New Guinea 
few tales of this sort seem to have been collected,^ although 
stories of the wise and foolish brothers are very prevalent in 
the Solomon, Santa Cruz, and Banks Islands and the New 
Hebrides, where they are of the second type, in that, instead 
of the usual two brothers, we have a group of ten or twelve.^ 

In the Banks Islands ^° Qat is the great hero, and many 
tales are told of him and his eleven brothers, all of whom were 
named Tagaro, one being Tagaro the Wise, and one Tagaro 
the Foolish. ^^ In the stories told in Mota, all seem to have 
combined against Qat and endeavoured to kill him; but in 
Santa Maria, another island of the group, Qat has his an- 
tithesis in Marawa, the Spider,^^ a personage who in Mota 
seems to become Qat's friend and guide. Thus, according to 
one tale,^^ when Qat had finished his work of creation, he pro- 
posed to his brothers, Tagaro, that they make canoes for them- 
selves. Qat himself cut down a great tree and worked secretly 
at it every day, but made no progress, for each morning, when 
he came back to his task, he found that all that had been done 
the previous day was undone, and the tree-trunk made solid 
again. On finishing work one night, he determined to watch, 


and accordingly, making himself of very small size, he hid 
under a large chip which he carried away from the pile that 
he had made during the day. By and by a little old man ap- 
peared from a hole in the ground and began to put the chips 
back, each in the place from which it had been cut, until the 
whole tree-trunk was almost whole once more, only one piece 
being lacking, namely, that under which Qat had hidden him- 
self. Finally the old man found it, but just as he was about to 
pick it up, Qat sprang out, grew to his full size, and raised his 
axe to kill the old man who had thus interfered with his work. 
The latter, however, who was Marawa in disguise, begged Qat 
to spare his life, promising to complete the canoe for him if he 
would do so. So Qat had mercy on Marawa, and he finished the 
boat, using his nails to scoop and scrape it out.^'* When the 
canoes were finished, Qat told his brothers to launch theirs, 
and as each slipped into the water, he raised his hand, and the 
boat sank; whereupon Qat and Marawa appeared, paddling 
about in their canoe and surprising the other brothers, who 
had not known that Qat was at work. 

After this, the brothers tried to destroy Qat in order that 
they might possess his wife and canoe. "One day they took 
him to the hole of a land-crab under a stone, which they had 
already so prepared by digging under it that it was ready to 
topple over upon him. Qat crawled into the hole and began 
to dig for the crab; his brothers tipped over the stone upon 
him, and thinking him crushed to death, ran off to seize Ro 
Lei and the canoe. But Qat called on Marawa by name, 
'Marawa! take me round about to Ro Lei,' and by the time 
that his brothers reached the village, there was Qat to their 
astonishment sitting by the side of his wife." ^^ They tried to 
kill him in many other ways,^^ but Qat was always the victor, 
and their plans were frustrated. 

The element of the opposition of the wise and foolish brothers 
is better brought out, it seems, in the New Hebrides, where ^^ 
Tagaro becomes the chief actor and is pitted against Suqe- 


matua. "Tagaro wanted everything to be good, and would 
have no pain or suffering; Suqe-matua would have all things 
bad. When Tagaro made things, he or Suqe-matua tossed 
them up into the air; what Tagaro caught is good for food, 
what he missed is worthless." In a neighbouring island ^^ 
Tagaro is one of twelve brothers, as in the Banks Islands, and 
usually another of them is Suqe-matua, who continually 
thwarts him. In Lepers Island ^^ Tagaro and Suqe-matua 
shared the work of creation, but whatever the latter did was 
wrong. Thus when they made the trees, the fruit of Tagaro's 
were good for food, but Suqe-matua's were bitter; when they 
created men, Tagaro said they should walk upright on two 
legs, but Suqe-matua said that they should go like pigs; Suqe- 
matua wanted to have men sleep in the trunks of sago palms, 
but Tagaro said they should work and dwell in houses. So 
they always disagreed, but the word of Tagaro prevailed. ^° In 
this latter feature we have the exact opposite of the conditions 
in New Britain. Tagaro was said to be the father of ten sons, 
the cleverest of whom was Tagaro-Mbiti.^^ 

In another portion of this island Tagaro's opponent, here 
known as Meragbuto, again becomes more of a simple fool, 
and many are the tricks that Tagaro plays upon him.-^ One 
day Meragbuto saw Tagaro, who had just oiled his hair with 
coco-nut oil, and admiring the effect greatly, asked how this 
result had been produced. Tagaro asked him if he had any 
hens, and when Meragbuto answered that he had many, 
Tagaro said: "Well, when they have roosted in the trees, do 
you go and sit under a tree, and anoint yourself with the 
ointment which they will throw down to you." Meragbuto 
carried out the instructions exactly and rubbed not only his 
hair, but his whole body with the excrement of the fowls. 
On the following day he went proudly to a festival, but as soon 
as he approached every one ran away, crying out at the in- 
tolerable odour; only then did Meragbuto realize that he had 
been tricked, and washed himself in the sea. 


Another time Tagaro placed a tabu upon all coco-nuts so 
that no one should eat them; but Meragbuto paid no atten- 
tion to this prohibition, eating and eating until he had devoured 
nearly all of them. Thereupon Tagaro took a small coco-nut, 
scraped out half the meat, and leaving the rest in the shell, 
sat down to await the coming of Meragbuto, who appeared 
by and by, and seeing the coco-nut, asked Tagaro if it was his. 
"Yes," said Tagaro, "if you are hungry, eat it, but only on 
condition that you eat it all." So Meragbuto sat down and 
scraped the remainder of the nut and ate it; but though he 
scraped and scraped, more was always left, and so he continued 
eating all day. At night Meragbuto said to Tagaro, "My 
cousin, I can't eat any more, my stomach pains me." But 
Tagaro answered, "No. I put a tabu on the coco-nuts, and 
you disregarded it; now you must eat it all." So Meragbuto 
continued to eat until finally he burst and died. If he had not 
perished, there would have been no more coco-nuts, for he 
would have devoured them all.^^ 

At last Tagaro determined to destroy Meragbuto, and ac- 
cordingly he said, "Let us each build a house." This they did, 
but Tagaro secretly dug a deep pit in the floor of his house 
and covered it over with leaves and earth; after which he said 
to Meragbuto: "Come, set fire to my house, so that I and my 
wife and children may be burned and die; thus you will be- 
come the sole chief." So Meragbuto came and set fire to Ta- 
garo's house, and then went to his own and lay down and slept. 
Tagaro and his family, however, quickly crawled into the pit 
which he had prepared, and so they escaped death; and when 
the house had burned, they came up out of their hiding-place 
and sat down among the ashes. After a time Meragbuto 
awoke, and saying, "Perhaps my meat is cooked," he went 
to where Tagaro's house had been, thinking to find his victims 
roasted. Utterly amazed to see Tagaro and his family safe 
and sound, he asked how this had happened, and Tagaro re- 
plied that the flames had not harmed him at all. "Good!" 


said Meragbuto, "when It is night, do you come and set fire 
to my house and burn me also." So Tagaro set fire to Merag- 
buto's house, but when the flames began to burn him, Meragbuto 
cried out, "My cousin! It hurts me. I am dying." Tagaro, 
however, replied, "No, you will not die; it was just that way 
in my case. Bear it bravely; it will soon be over." And so it 
was, for Meragbuto was burned up and entirely destroyed.^^ 

Two points of special interest in connexion with these tales 
deserve brief discussion. One of the most characteristic fea- 
tures of Polynesian mythology is the prominence of the Maui 
cycle; and if we compare these Polynesian tales with the Mela- 
nesian stories of the wise and foolish brothers, there is a sug- 
gestion of some sort of relationship between them. To be sure, 
the similarity lies mainly in the fact that in both regions there 
is a group of brothers, one of whom is capable, the others in- 
capable or foolish, whereas the actual exploits of the two areas 
are different. Again, it is only in New Zealand that even this 
slight amount of correspondence is noticeable. In spite, how- 
ever, of this very slender basis for comparison, it seems, in 
view of the relative absence of this type of tale from the rest 
of the Pacific area, that the suggestion of connexion between 
the two groups of myths is worth further investigation. This 
is especially evident in view of the second of the two points 
to which reference has been made, i. e. the similarity between 
Tagaro, the name of the Melanesian brothers in the New 
Hebrides, and the Polynesian deity Tangaroa, who appears 
in several guises, I. e. as a simple god of the sea in New 
Zealand, as the creator in the Society and Samoan Groups, 
and as an evil deity in Hawaii. It is not yet possible to deter- 
mine the exact relationship between the Polynesian Tangaroa 
and the New Hebridian Takaro, but it is probable that there 
is some connexion between them. It may be that the use of 
the name in the New Hebrides is due wholly to borrowing dur- 
ing the comparatively recent Polynesian contact; ^^ but on the 
other hand, it is possible that Tangaroa is a Polynesian modi- 


fication of the Melancsian Tagaro. The general uniformity 
of the conceptions of Tagaro in Melanesia, contrasted with the 
varied character of Tangaroa in Polynesia, adds considerable 
difficulty to the problem. The final elucidation of the puzzle 
must wait, however, for the materials at present available are 
not sufficiently complete to enable us to draw any certain 

IX — 10 


AVERY common class of tales in Melanesia deals with 
cannibals and monsters, and our discussion of the gen- 
eral or more miscellaneous group of myths may well begin 
with examples of this type. As told by the Sulka, a Papuan 
tribe of New Britain,^ one of these stories runs as follows. 
Once there was a cannibal and his wife who had killed and 
eaten a great many persons, so that, fearing lest they should 
all be destroyed, the people resolved to abandon their village 
and seek safety in flight. Accordingly they prepared their 
canoes, loaded all their property on board, and made ready 
to leave; but Tamus, one of the women of the village, was with 
child, whence the others refused to take her with them, say- 
ing that she would only be a burden upon the journey. She 
swam after them, however, and clung to the stern of one of 
the canoes, but they beat her off", compelling her to return to 
the deserted village and to live there alone. In due time she 
bore a son, and when he grew up a little, she would leave him 
in her hut while she went out to get food, warning him not to 
talk or laugh, lest the cannibals should hear and come and 
eat him. One day his mother left him a dracaena-plant as a 
plaything, and when she was gone he said to himself, "What 
shall I make out of this, my brother or my cousin.^" Then he 
held the dracaena behind him, and presently it turned Into a 
boy, with whom he played and talked. Resolving to conceal 
the presence of his new friend, Pupal, from his mother, he 
said to her on her return, "Mother, I want to make a parti- 
tion in our house; then you can live on one side, and I will 


live on the other," and this he did, concealing Pupal In his 
portion of the house. From time to time his mother thought 
that she heard her son talking to someone and was surprised 
at the quantity of food and drink he required; but though she 
often asked him If he was alone, he always declared that he 
was. At last one day she discovered Pupal and then learned 
how he had come from the dracaena. She was glad that her 
son now had a companion, and all three lived happily together. 
Tamus was, however, more than ever afraid that the canni- 
bals would hear sounds, and suspecting the presence of peo- 
ple In the deserted village, would come to eat them; but the 
two boys reassured her, saying, "Have no fear; we shall kill 
them, if they dare to come." Accordingly, making themselves 
shields and spears, they practised marksmanship and also 
erected a slippery barricade about the house, so that it would 
be difficult to climb. When they had completed their prepara- 
tions, they set up a swing near the house, and while they were 
swinging, called out to the cannibals, "Where are you.? We 
are here, come and eat us." The cannibals heard, and one 
said to the other, "Don't you hear someone calling us over 
there.? Who can It be, for we have eaten all of them." So they 
set out for the village to see what could have made the noise, 
the two boys being meanwhile ready in hiding. When the 
cannibals tried to cHmb the barricade, they slipped and fell, 
and the boys rushing out succeeded In killing them both after 
a hard fight. The children then called to the boy's mother, 
who had been greatly terrified, and when she came and saw 
both the cannibals dead, she built a fire, and they cut up the 
bodies and burned them, saving only the breasts of the ogress. 
These Tamus put in a coco-nut-shell, and setting It afloat on 
the sea, said: "Go to the people who ran away from here, 
and If they ask, 'Have the cannibals killed Tamus, and are 
these her breasts.?' remain floating; but if they say, 'Has Tamus 
borne a son and has he killed the cannibals, and are these the 
breasts of the ogress.?' then sink!". 


The coconut-shell floated away at once and hy and by came 
to the new village built by the people who had fled years 
before. All occurred as Tamus had foreseen, and through the 
aid of the coco-nut-shell and its contents the people learned 
the truth. When they discovered the death of the cannibals, 
they were overjoyed and set out at once for their old home; 
but just as they were about to land, Pupal and Tamus's son 
attacked them, and the latter said, "Ye abandoned my mother 
and cast her away. Now, ye shall not come back." After a 
while, however, he relented and allowed the people to land, 
and all lived together again happily and safely in their old 

Another cannibal story which introduces interesting fea- 
tures is told in the New Hebrides.^ There was once a cannibal 
named Taso, who came one day upon the sister of Qatu and 
killed her, but did not eat her because she was with child. 
So he abandoned her body in a thicket, and there, though 
their mother was dead, twin boys were born.* They found 
rain-water collected in dead leaves, and shoots of plants that 
they could eat; so they lived, and when they grew old enough to 
walk, they wandered about in the forest until one day they 
found a sow belonging to their uncle Qatu. He came daily to 
give it food, but when he had gone, the boys would eat part 
of the sow's provisions. Thus they grew, and their skins and 
hair were fair. Qatu wondered why his sow did not become 
fat, and watching, discovered the twins and caught them; but 
when they told him who they were, he welcomed them as his 
nephews and took them home with him. After they grew 
bigger, he made little bows of sago fronds for them, and when 
they could shoot lizards, he broke the bows, giving them 
larger ones with which they brought down greater game; 
and thus he trained them until they were grown up and could 
shoot anything. When they were young men, Qatu told them 
about Taso and how he had murdered their mother, warning 
them to be careful, lest he should catch them. The twins, how- 


ever, determined to kill the cannibal, so they set a tabu on a 
banana-tree belonging to them and said to their uncle: "If our 
bunch of bananas begins to ripen at the top and ripens down- 
wards, you will know that Taso has killed us; but if it begins 
to ripen at the bottom and ripens upwards, we shall have 
killed him." 5 

So they set off to kill Taso, but when they came to his house, 
he had gone to the beach to sharpen his teeth, and only his 
mother was at home. Accordingly they went and sat in the 
gamal, the men's house, to wait for him, and lighting a fire in 
the oven, they roasted some yams and heated stones in the 
blaze. Thereupon Taso's mother sang a song, telling him that 
there were two men In the gamal and that they should be 
food for him and for her; so the cannibal quickly returned from 
the shore, and as he came, he moved his head from side to 
side, striking the trees so that they went crashing down. 
When he reached the gamal, he climbed over the door-rail, 
but the boys Immediately threw at him all the hot rocks from 
the oven and knocked him down, and then with their clubs 
they beat him until he was dead, after which they killed his 
mother, and setting fire to the house over them, went away. 
Now Qatu, hearing the popping of the bamboos as the house 
burned, said, "Alas, Taso has probably burned the boys!" 
Hastening to see what had happened, however, he met them 
on the way and heard from them that they had killed Taso and 
had revenged their mother whom he had slain.^ 

Although greatly feared, and capable of destroying people 
In numbers, the cannibals are usually pictured as stupid 
and easily deceived, as shown in the following two tales. In 
a village lived four brothers, the eldest of whom one day took 
his bow and went out to shoot fish. Those which were only 
wounded he burled in the sand, and so went on until his arrow 
hit and stuck in the trunk of a bread-fruit-tree; whereupon, 
looking up and seeing ripe fruit, he climbed the tree and threw 
several of them down. An old cannibal heard the sound as 


they dropped and said, "Who is that stealing my fruit?" 
The man in the tree replied, "It is I with my brothers," and 
the old ogre answered, "Well, let us see if what you say is 
true. Just call to them." Accordingly the man shouted, 
"My brothers!" and all the fish that he had buried in the sand 
replied, so that it sounded as if many men were near; where- 
upon the cannibal was frightened and said, "It is true, but 
hurry up, take what you will, only leave me the small ones." 
So the man took the bread-fruit, gathered up the fish which 
he had buried, and went home; but when his brothers begged 
him to share his food with them, or at least to give them the 
skins of the fish, he refused, telling them to go and get some 
for themselves. 

The next day the second brother went off, followed his 
brother's tracks, imitated his procedure, and came back with 
fish and fruit; the third brother did the same on the following 
day; and then it came the turn of the fourth to go. He, how- 
ever, failed to bury the wounded fish, but killed them, and 
when the cannibal asked him to call his brothers, there was 
no reply. "Aha," said the cannibal, "now I have got you. 
You must come down from the tree." "Oh, yes!" said the 
youngest brother, "I shall come down on that tree there." 
Quickly the ogre took his axe and cut down the tree, and in 
this way he felled every one that stood near. "Now, I surely 
have you," said he, but the youngest brother replied, "No, I 
will come down on your youngest daughter there." So the 
cannibal rushed at her and gave her a fatal blow; and thus the 
man in the tree induced the stupid monster to kill all his chil- 
dren and his wife and lastly to cut off his own hand, where- 
upon the man came down from the tree and slew the ogre.'^ 

The following story ^ presents striking features of agreement 
with certain Indonesian tales. A man and his family had 
dried and prepared a great quantity of food, which they stored 
on a staging in their home; and one day, when the man had 
gone off to his field to work, a cannibal came to the house. 



and seeing all the provisions, resolved to get them. So he said 
to the man's wife, who had been left alone with the children, 
"My cousin told me to tell you to give me a package of food." 
The woman gave h 

im one, and he hid It In the forest, after 

Fig. I. Native Drawing of a Sea-Spirit 

These spirits are thought to live far out at sea and are usually malevolent. They 
shoot men with flying fish and are supposed to travel in waterspouts or on the rain- 
bow. San Cristoval, Solomon Islands. After Codrington, The Melanesians, p. 259. 

which he returned and repeated his request, thus carrying 
away all the food which the people had stored. Finally he 
seized the woman and her children, shut them up In a cave, 
and went away, so that when the husband returned, he found 
his house empty. Searching about, he at last heard his wife 


calling to him from the cave where she had been Imprisoned, 
and she told him how the cannibal, after stealing their food, 
had taken her and the children. Hard though her husband 
tried, he could not open the cave, but was forced to sit there 
helpless while his wife and family starved to death, after which 
he returned to his town and plaited the widower's wristlets 
and arm-bands for himself. One day the old cannibal came by, 
and seeing him sitting there, he admired the plaited orna- 
ments which the man wore, but did not know what they were. 
He asked the man to make him some like them, and the widower 
agreed, saying, "You must first go to sleep, then I can make 
them properly." So they went to seek a suitable place, and 
the man, after secretly telling the birds to dam up the river, 
that the bed might be dry, led the cannibal to a great tree- 
root in the channel of the stream and told him that this 
would be a good place. Believing him, the cannibal lay down 
on the root and slept, whereupon the man took strong rattans 
and vines and tied the monster fast, after which he called out 
to the birds to break the dam and let the flood come down the 
river. He himself ran to the bank In safety, and when the can- 
nibal, awakened by the water which rose higher and higher, 
cried out, "What is this cold thing which touches me.'"' the 
man replied: "You evil cave-monster, surely it was for you 
that we prepared all the food, and you came and ate it up. 
You also killed my wife and children, and now you want me 
to plait an arm-band for you." Then he tore off his own arm- 
bands and signs of mourning and threw them away, while 
the water rose above the head of the cannibal and drowned 

The theme of the woman abandoned by the people of the 
village, one form of which has already been glven,^" is very 
common In Melanesia, and another version " presents several 
Interesting features for comparison. A woman named Gara- 
wada one day went with her mother-in-law into the jungle to 
gather figs. Coming to a fig-tree, Garawada climbed up and 


began to eat the ripe fruit, while she threw down the green 
ones to her mother-in-law. The latter, angered at this, called 
to Garawada to come down, but when she reached the fork 
in the tree, the old woman, who was a witch, caused the forks 
to come together, thus imprisoning her daughter-in-law, after 
which she went away and left her. For many days the woman 
remained in the tree, and finally bore a son; but after a while the 
child fell to the ground, and though his mother feared that he 
would die, he found wild fruits and water, and lived. One day 
he looked up into the tree and discovered his mother, and from 
that time he gave her fruits and berries in order that she might 
not starve. Nevertheless, he longed for other companions, 
and one day he said to his parent, "Mother, teach me my pari, 
that I may sing it when I find my people, and that thus they 
may know me." So she taught him his spell: 

"I have sucked the shoots of dabedabe; 
My mother is Garawada." 

The child then ran off to seek his way out of the jungle. Once 
he forgot his song, but after hastening back to relearn it, he 
hurried away again and came to the edge of the forest, where 
he saw some children throwing darts at a coco-nut which was 
rolled upon the ground. He yearned to play with them, and 
making for himself a dart, he ran toward them, singing his 
charm and casting his missile. Not being used to aim at a 
mark, however, he missed the coco-nut and struck one of the 
children in the arm, whereat, thinking an enemy had attacked 
them, the children all ran shrieking to their homes. The next 
day he came again, and this time the children fled at once, 
but though he followed, he was unable to catch them, 
and so returned a second time to his mother. The children 
now reported their adventure to their parents, and the father 
of one of them determined to go with them the following day 
and hide that he might watch what happened. Accordingly, 
when the little jungle-boy came the third time, the man ran 


out and caught him and asked him who he was; whereupon 

the boy told him the story of his mother's bravery, and how 

he himself had grown up alone in the jungle, and then sang 

his song: 

" I have sucked the shoots of dabedabe; 
My mother is Garawada." 

At this the man said, "Truly thou art my nephew. Come, 
let us go and set thy mother free." So they went with many 
of the villagers and cut down the tree, for they could not sepa- 
rate the branches; but as the tree fell, Garawada slipped away 
and ran swiftly to the beach, and there, turning into a crab, 
crawled into a hole in the sand. Her son wept, because he 
knew that his mother had left him, but his uncle led him back 
to the village and took him into his own home, and the chil- 
dren no longer were afraid to have him for a playfellow.^^ 

The theme of the swan-maiden, which perhaps occurs in parts 
of Polynesia ^^ and widely in Indonesia, ^^ seems quite well de- 
veloped in the New Hebrides. According to the version told 
in Lepers Island, ^^ a party of heavenly, winged maidens once 
flew down to earth to bathe,^^ and Tagaro watched them. 
*'He saw them take off their wings, stole one pair, and hid them 
at the foot of the main pillar of his house. He then returned 
and found all fled but the wingless one, and he took her to his 
house and presented her to his mother as his wife. After a 
time Tagaro took her to weed his garden, when the yams 
were not yet ripe, and as she weeded and touched the yam 
vines, ripe tubers came into her hand. Tagaro's brothers 
thought she was digging yams before their time and scolded 
her; she went into the house and sat weeping at the foot of 
the pillar, and as she wept her tears fell, and wearing away the 
earth pattered down upon her wings. She heard the sound, 
took up her wings, and flew back to heaven.^^ 

Another version ^^ adds that the returning sky-maiden took 
her child with her; and when Tagaro came back to find his 
wife and son absent, he asked his mother regarding them, her 


reply being that they had gone to the house and wept because 
they had been scolded about the yams. Tagaro hurried to the 
dwelling, but seeing that the wings were gone, he knew that 
his wife and child had returned to the sky-land. Thereupon 
he called a bird and said, "Fly up and seek for them in their 
country, for you have wings and I have not." So the bird flew 
up and up and up, and perched upon a tree in the sky-country. 
Under the tree Tagaro's wife sat with her child, making mats, 
and the bird, scratching upon a fruit pictures of Tagaro, the 
child, and its mother, dropped it at their feet. The boy seized 
it, and recognizing the pictures, they looked up and saw the 
bird, from whom they learned that Tagaro was seeking them. 
The sky-woman bade the bird tell Tagaro that he must ascend 
to the sky-land, for only if he should come up to her would 
she agree to descend to earth again. The bird carried the 
message, but Tagaro was in despair, for how, without wings, 
could he possibly reach the sky? At last he had an idea. 
Quickly making a powerful bow and a hundred arrows, he shot 
one of them at the sky. The arrow stuck firmly, and he then 
shot another into the butt of the first, and a third Into the butt 
of the second, and thus, one after another, he sent his arrows, 
making an arrow-chain, until, when he had sped the last one, 
the end of the chain reached the earth. ^^ Then from the sky 
a banian-root crept down the arrow-chain and took root in the 
earth. Tagaro breathed upon it, and it grew larger and stronger, 
whereupon, taking all his ornaments, he and the bird climbed 
the banian-root to the sky. There he found his lost wife and 
child, and said to them, "Let us now descend." Accordingly 
his wife gathered up her mats and followed him, but when 
Tagaro said to her, "Do you go first," she replied, "No, do 
you go first." So Tagaro started, and they followed; but when 
they were half way down, his wife took out a hatchet which 
she had concealed and cut the banian-root just beneath her, 
so that Tagaro and the bird fell to earth, while she and her 
child climbed back again to the sky. 


In its distribution the story of the Isle of Women presents 
a number of elements of interest. According to the version 
from New Britain,^" a man one day set some snares in a tree 
to catch pigeons. One of the birds was caught, but suc- 
ceeded in tearing the snare loose and flew away over the sea. 
The man, thinking to secure it, followed it in his canoe, and 
after having paddled all day and all night, in the morning he 
saw an island and the bird perched upon a tree. Carefully con- 
cealing his canoe, he started after the bird, but hearing people 
coming, he hurriedly climbed into a tree and hid himself. 
The tree stood directly over a spring, and soon many women 
appeared, coming to get water. One of them preceded the 
others, and as she stooped to dip up water, she saw the re- 
flection of the man in the surface of the pool;^^ whereupon she 
called out to her companions, "I will fill your water-vessels 
for you," for she did not wish the others to know that there 
was a man in the tree. When all the vessels had been filled 
and the women had started to return home, she secretly left 
her sun-shield behind; and after they had gone a little way, 
she said, "Oh, I left my sun-shield! Do you all go on, I will 
catch up." So she went back to the spring, and calling to the 
man to come down, she asked him to marry her, and he agreed. 
She took him to her house and secreted him there, and thus 
she alone of all the women had a man for her husband; for all 
the rest had only tortoises. In due time she had a child, at 
which the other women were envious and asked her how her 
human child had been born; but she refused to disclose her 
secret, although by and by she confided to her sister that she 
had found a man and agreed to let her also become his 
wife. When later her sister bore a child, the other women were 
again curious, and at last discovering the secret, each and 
every one of them wished to have the man for her husband, 
and they paid the sisters to let them all marry the man and 
become his wives; so that the man had very many spouses. 
After the man's first child had grown, he determined to leave 


the island; and accordingly, uncovering his canoe, which he 
had concealed, he paddled away to his own home, where he 
saw the signs that were put up in the house of the dead, for 
all thought him drowned. It was evening when he reached 
his village, and as he rapped on the drum to let his wife know 
that he had returned, she called out, *'Who is there?" to which 
he answered, "It is I." She lit a torch and came out of the 
house and looked at him; but was angry, and saying, "You 
are the one who caused us to spend all our bead-money in vain 
on your funeral ceremonies, while you have been living shame- 
lessly with other wives," she seized an axe and struck him so 
that he died.22 

Of tales in which inanimate objects become persons or act 
as such, and which are apparently characteristic of the Melane- 
sian area, we may take an example from German New Guinea.^^ 
One night, while two women were sleeping In a house, a tapa- 
beater transformed itself into a woman resembling one of the 
pair, and waking the other, said to her, "Come, it is time for 
us to go fishing." So the woman arose, and they took torches 
and went out to sea in a canoe. After a while she saw an 
island of drift-wood, and as the dawn came on, perceived that 
her companion had turned Into a ^<2^<^-beater,^^ whereupon 
she said: "Oh, the tapa-heatev has deceived me. While we 
were talking in the evening, it was standing in the corner and 
heard us, and in the night it came and deceived me." Landing 
her on the Island, the tapa-heater paddled away and abandoned 
her; but she sought for food, and found a sea-eagle's egg which 
she held In her hand until It broke and hatched out a young 
bird, for which she cared until It grew large. Then the bird 
would fly off and get fish for her to eat, and also brought her 
a fire-brand, so that she could cook her food. Her great desire, 
however, was to return to her home; but when the bird said 
that he would carry her to the shore, she doubted whether he 
was strong enough. Then the bird seized a great log of wood 
and showed her that he could lift that, so she finally trusted 



him and thus was borne safely back to her own island. Her 
parents were delighted to see her, and she petted and fed the 
bird who had taken care of her so well; but since the sea- 
eagle could not be content, it flew away. Then the woman 
told her parents how the tapa-heater had deceived and kid- 


Native Drawing of a "Dogai," or Female Bogey, Named 

The small striped object in the upper right-hand corner represents a man, Bu, 
who shot and killed her. The " Dogai " is now a group of stars of which Altair is 
one; Bu is now the star-group kno%vn as the Dolphin. Torres Straits. Reports 
of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits, v, 12, Fig. 4. 

napped her; and her father was angry, and building a great 
fire, he threw the tapa-htaXtv into it and burned it up.^^ 

Equally typical of Melanesia are the many tales of ghosts; 
and an example from the Kai, a Papuan tribe of German New 
Guinea, runs as follows. ^^ One day a number of brothers who 
were gathering material for making arm-bands had climbed 
into a great tree, when the youngest made a mis-step, and fall- 
ing to the ground, was killed. The other brothers, who could 


not see what had happened because of the thick foliage, called 
out, "What was that which fell?" The ghost of the dead 
brother, however, still stood in the tree and said, "I stepped 
on a dead branch which broke," and thus lying to his brothers, 
he descended from the tree before them, wrapped his body in 
leaves, and hid it. When his brothers came down, the ghost 
went along with them, but on the way he suddenly said, 
"Oh! I forgot and left something at that tree. Wait for me 
till I get it." Accordingly they waited while the ghost went 
back, picked up his body, and brought it along, but hid It 
again before he came to the place where his brothers were. 
Then they all went on toward the village; but after a while 
he repeated the trick several times until his brothers, becom- 
ing suspicious, watched and found out how they had been de- 
ceived. Thereupon they all fled, and coming to the village, 
cried out, "We have seen something mysterious. Shut your 
doors." So all the people obeyed, all but an old woman and 
her grandson, for she had not heard the warning and left her 
door open. 

By and by the ghost came, carrying his body on his back. 
He tried to throw his corpse into the first house, but it struck 
against the closed door and fell down again; so he picked it 
up and cast it at the next with like result. Thus he tried 
them all until he came to the last house, in which the old 
woman lived; and here, because the door was open, the ghost 
succeeded and threw his body into the house. Quickly the 
old woman seized the bundle and tossed it out again, but the 
ghost caught it and hurled it back. Thus they continued to 
send the body to and fro; but at last the old woman seized her 
grandson by mistake and threw him out, at which the ghost 
cried, "That is great! Now you have given me something to 
eat." The old woman then said, "Throw him back again," 
but the ghost replied, thinking to cheat her, "Do you first 
throw out my body. Then I will throw him back." So they 
argued until dawn was near, when the old woman shouted, 


"The dawn is coming. Does that mean something for you or 
for me?" Since the ghost replied, "For me!" the woman de- 
layed until the day had come. The light of the sun put the 
ghost in danger, so he threw the grandson back and received 
his own body in return; but being no longer able to conceal 
himself, he was changed into a wild taro-plant, while his body 
became a piece of bark.^^ 

In many parts of Melanesia a type of tale is found which 
seems to be rare in Polynesia and Indonesia, but is, on the 
other hand, common in Australia, i. e. the stories told to ac- 
count for peculiar markings or characteristics of different 
animals, plants, or inanimate things. In the Banks Islands 
it is said ^^ that a rat and a rail, once finding a gariga-tree: 
full of ripe fruit, disputed which should climb the tree. At 
last the rat went up, but instead of throwing ripe fruit down 
to the rail, he ate them himself and tossed down only stones. 
Finding that the rat refused to give him any fully ripe fruit, 
the bird said, "Throw me down that one. It is only red ripe," 
whereupon the rat took the fruit and tossed It at the rail, 
so that it hit him on his forehead and stuck fast. The rail 
was angry, and as the rat came down from the tree, he thrust 
the unfolded leaf of a dracaena Into the rat's rump, where it 
stuck fast. So the tail of the rat is the leaf of the dracaena 
that the rail put there, and the red lump on the head of the 
rail is the gariga-irmt which the rat threw at him. 

In Lepers Island in the New Hebrides the origin of good 
and bad yams is given as follows.^^ One day a hen and her 
ten chickens came across a wild yam, which got up after a 
while and ate one of the chickens. The survivors called to a 
kite, which said to the hen, "Put the chickens under me," 
and when the yam came and asked the kite where the chickens 
were, the bird replied, "I don't know." Thereupon the yam 
scolded the kite, and the latter, seizing the yam, flew high 
into the air and dropped it to the ground. Then another kite 
took it up and let It fall, so that the yam was broken into 


two parts; and thus the two kites divided the yam between 
them, whence some yams are good and some are bad. 

The story of how the turtle got his shell is told as follows 
in British New Guinea.^" The turtle and the wallaby, being 
hungry one day, went together to the hornbill's garden and 
began to eat his bananas and sugar-cane. While they were 
thus engaged, the birds were preparing a feast, and Binama, 
the hornbill, asked one of them to go to the shore for some 
salt water with which to flavour the food. Several made ex- 
cuses, for they feared that an enemy might kill them, but at 
last the wagtail agreed to go, and on the way passed through 
Binama's garden, where he saw the wallaby and the turtle 
feasting. The turtle was much frightened at being discovered 
and said, "Your master bade us eat his bananas, for we were 
hungry." The wagtail knew that this was not true, but said 
nothing, got the sea-water, and returning to the village by 
another path, cried out, "Friends, the turtle and the wallaby 
are eating in our master's garden." Then all the people were 
angry, and getting their spears, they ran and surrounded the 
garden. The wallaby, seeing his danger, made a tremendous 
leap and escaped, but the turtle, having no means of flight, 
was caught and carried prisoner to Binama's house, where he 
was tied to a pole and laid upon a shelf until the morrow, when 
Binama and the others went to get food to make a feast, at 
which they intended to kill the turtle. Only Binama's chil- 
dren were left in the house, and the turtle, speaking softly 
to them, said, "Loosen my bonds, O children, that we may 
play together." This the children did and then, at the turtle's 
request, got the best of their father's ornaments, which the 
turtle donned and wore as he crawled about. This amused 
the children and they laughed loudly, for the turtle had put 
a great bead necklace about his neck and shell armlets on his 
arms and a huge wooden bowl on his back. By and by the 
people could be heard returning; and as soon as the turtle 
became aware of this, he ran swiftly to the sea, while the chil- 

IX — II 


dren cried out, "Come quickly, for the turtle is running 
away!" So all the people chased the turtle, but he succeeded 
in reaching the sea and dived out of sight. When the people 
arrived at the shore, they called out, "Show yourself! Lift up 
your head!" Accordingly the turtle rose and stuck his head 
above water, whereupon the birds hurled great stones at him 
and broke one of the armlets; they threw again and destroyed 
the other; again, and hit the necklace, so that the string gave 
way, and the beads were lost. Then for a last time calling to 
the turtle to show himself, they threw very large stones 
which fell upon the wooden bowl on his back, but they did 
not break it, and the turtle was not harmed. Then he fled far 
away over the sea, and to this day all turtles carry on their 
backs the bowl that once was in the house of Binama. 

From New Britain comes the following tale ^^ of the dog and 
the kangaroo. One day when the kangaroo was going along, 
followed by the dog, he ate a yellow lapua-huit and was 
asked by the dog, when the latter came up with him, "Tell 
me, what have you eaten that your mouth is so yellow .f"' The 
kangaroo replied, "There is some of it on yonder log," point- 
ing to a pile of filth; whereupon the dog, thinking that it was 
good, ran quickly and ate it up, only to hear his companion 
laugh and say, "Listen, friend, what I ate was a yellow lapua- 
fruit like that; what you have eaten is simply filth." Angered 
at the trick played upon him, the dog resolved to have his 
revenge, and so, as they went on toward the shore, he ran 
ahead and buried his forepaws in the sand. When the kan- 
garoo came up, the dog said: "Gracious, but you have long 
forepaws! Break off a piece of your long paws. I have broken 
off a piece of mine as you see, and now mine are beautiful and 
short. Do you do likewise, and then we shall both be alike." 
So the kangaroo broke off" a piece of each of his forepaws and 
threw the pieces away, whereupon the dog jumped up and said, 
triumphantly, "Aha! I still have long forepaws, but you have 
only short ones. You are the one who deceived me and made 


me eat the filth," and as he uttered these words, he sprang at 
the kangaroo and killed him, and ever since the kangaroo 
has had short forepaws.^'^ In several cases the parallelism be- 
tween the Melanesian and Australian tales of this type is very 
striking; its significance will be apparent later. 


THE material on the mythology of Melanesia, though 
incomplete and fragmentary, appears rather clearly to 
prove the existence of two distinct strata, one of which 
may be called Papuan, the other Melanesian. The former is 
best represented among the Kai tribes of the region north of 
Huon Gulf in German New Guinea, as well as by the Baining 
and Sulka of northern New Britain, and may be traced, more 
or less plainly, among the remaining coastal tribes of both 
German and British New Guinea; whereas it is much less ap- 
parent in the Banks Islands, the New Hebrides, and Fiji. 
The Melanesian stratum, on the other hand, is perhaps best 
developed in eastern Melanesia, i. e. Santa Cruz, the Banks 
Islands, the New Hebrides, and Fiji; though it is well repre- 
sented throughout the New Guinea littoral districts, among 
the coast tribes of northern New Britain and in the Admiralty 
Islands. What has been called the Papuan type of mythology 
seems to be characterized by a relative absence of cosmogonic 
myths, by the prominence of ghosts, and by a general sim- 
plicity and naivete; and this category also appears to show an 
extensive development of tales of local distribution only, cor- 
responding to the discreteness and lack of relationship on the 
linguistic side. The Melanesian stratum, on the other hand, 
exhibits a considerably greater evolution on the side of cos- 
mogony, an especial fondness for cannibalistic tales, and a 
rudimentary dualistic character which is revealed in the many 
stories of the wise and foolish culture hero brothers. Further 
examination of this Melanesian type seems to indicate that 


it is by no means a unit, although, because of the character 
of the material, any conclusions must be wholly tentative. 
The following grouping is suggested: (i) myths of general dis- 
tribution throughout Melanesia; (2) those confined more or 
less strictly to New Guinea and the immediate vicinity; and 
(3) those similarly restricted in their distribution to Fiji, the 
New Hebrides, and the Banks and Santa Cruz Islands. 

If now, instead of limiting our view to Melanesia alone, we 
include the whole of the Oceanic area and endeavour to dis- 
cover the relationship of Melanesian mythology to that of the 
adjacent sections, it appears that, whereas of the two main 
types (the Papuan and Melanesian) the former shows little 
in common with any of the other Oceanic regions, the latter, 
on the contrary, exhibits numerous and interesting relation- 
ships with Indonesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, and some 
even with Australia. The Melanesian type of incidents which 
reveal similarities with these other areas may be divided into 
four groups: (i) those whose resemblances are only with In- 
donesia; (2) only with Polynesia; (3) with both Indonesia and 
Polynesia; and (4) with Micronesia. The first of these groups 
is represented much more strongly in New Guinea than in the 
eastern archipelago; and in New Guinea it is far more promi- 
nent on the northern coast than on the southern. It would 
seem to manifest influences from Indonesia which, in the course 
of migrations eastward, did not extend beyond Melanesia, 
and which were greater in New Guinea and its vicinity than 
in the eastern and more distant archipelagos. The second 
group — rather unexpectedly — is, like the first, more promi- 
nent in New Guinea than farther east, but is better repre- 
sented on the south coast than is the first group. From the 
character of the incidents and their distribution in Melanesia 
and Polynesia this group itself would appear to comprise 
(a) incidents preponderantly Melanesian, borrowed by the 
Polynesian ancestors and carried with them into Polynesia, 
and (b) incidents of Polynesian development which have been 


transmitted westward as a result of the probable late reflex 
of Polynesian peoples into parts of eastern Melanesia. 

The third group, comprising myth-incidents from Indonesia, 
Melanesia, and Polynesia, is contrasted with both the others 
in that it is best represented in eastern Melanesia. Theo- 
retically, these incidents may be regarded as a portion of those 
brought by the Polynesian ancestors from their Indonesian 
homes and still preserved by them in Polynesia. Their pres- 
ence in Melanesia would thus be hypothetically due to their 
having been taken over from the migrant Polynesians, and their 
greater prominence in the eastern archipelago would be ex- 
pected, as it was presumably in this area, rather than in New 
Guinea, that, during their migration, the Polynesian ancestors 
made their longest halt and exerted their greatest influence 
on the aboriginal population. The last group, which is com- 
posed of those incidents common to Melanesia and Micro- 
nesia, is about equally represented in New Guinea and the 
eastern archipelago. The relatively large number of similari- 
ties between Micronesia and Melanesia is only what we should 
expect, owing to the many evidences derived from other 
sources, of relationship between the peoples of the two areas; 
but the amount of agreement with eastern Melanesia is rather 



THE mythology of the Indonesian area presents problems 
which are in many respects similar to those in Polynesia 
and Melanesia, though more complex in that a larger number 
of factors are concerned. In Polynesia the ethnic composi- 
tion of the population was relatively simple, for it seems to 
have consisted, as already stated, of a blend of several waves 
of immigrants from Indonesia, who had, presumably in transit, 
mixed to a varying extent with the peoples of Melanesia. 
The relative proportions of Indonesian and Melanesian ele- 
ments in the mythology have been found to vary in different 
groups of islands, and indications of several strata of Indone- 
sian myths have also seemed to be indicated. In Indonesia 
itself, on the other hand, a larger number of distinct racial 
types are present, for we have here the Negrito, Indonesian, 
and Malay, as well as not inconsiderable elements from Se- 
mitic (Arabian) and Hindu sources. The latter peoples have 
brought with them the influence of the more highly developed 
cultures of southern Asia, while the Arabs and later Malays 
have everywhere Introduced factors of Islamic origin. Mytho- 
logical elements Imported from these latter sources lie out- 
side the scope of the present volume, so that, with some ex- 
ceptions, we shall here consider only those tales which are 
primarily local and presumably aboriginal in origin, although 
it will be apparent that the task of separating the native from 
the introduced mythology is often difficult. 

At the outset we may practically eliminate the Negrito from 
our consideration, inasmuch as there is, as yet, no accessible 


material derived from these people, who seem once to have 
formed the underlying stratum of the whole area. Today the 
Negrito survives only in the Philippines and the Malay Penin- 
sula, and although it is probable that myth material may yet 
be obtained from them, none has thus far been published. In 
view of this serious gap in our knowledge, which, it is to be 
hoped, may soon be filled, we are restricted to the myths of 
the Indonesian and Malay population. Rather than attempt 
to separate them at the outset, it will be more advantageous 
to consider the material as a whole, discovering any subdivi- 
sions into distinct types which we may. 


AMONG all the peoples of Indonesia, the mountain tribes 
of northern Luzon in the Philippines seem to stand alone 
in respect to cosmogonic myths in that, so far as material now 
at our command is concerned, they lack entirely, or almost 
entirely, any myths of the origin of the universe.^ The world, 
according to their belief, has always existed, although perhaps 
not in its present form, as has also the upper or sky-world. 
Of the creation of the earth or of mankind, of animals or of 
plants, Httle or nothing is said. All of these tribes, as will be 
seen later, possess deluge-myths, but of tales relating to the 
preceding period there are few if any. 

The apparent absence of cosmogonic myths among these 
tribes is suggestive, for these peoples constitute, so far as can 
be determined, one of the purest remnants of the earliest non- 
Negrito stratum of Indonesia and have been practically un- 
influenced by Indian and Islamic cultures, to which most of 
the other Indonesian peoples have been directly or indirectly 
exposed. In view of the affiliation of the earliest non-Negrito 
population of Indonesia with the Mon-Hkmer peoples of south- 
east Asia, which has recently been suggested on linguistic 
grounds,' it is perhaps significant that this same trait of the 
absence of true cosmogonic tales and the importance of deluge- 
myths is found among them also, so far as is indicated by the 
very scanty material that is as yet available.^ 

Some of the tribes in Celebes are also characterized by the 
absence of any myths referring to the creation of the world or 
of the gods, though they are unlike the type to which refer- 


ence has just been made in that they have tales which account 
for the origin of mankind. The Bugi and the people of Makas- 
sar in the south-western part of the island state that in the 
beginning the son of the sky-deity was sent down to earth on 
the rainbow that he might organize and prepare the world 
for mankind. This task accomplished, he took to wife six 
female deities, three of whom had descended with him from 
the sky-world, and three of whom were derived from the earth 
or from the underworld, and thus he became the ancestor of 
all mankind.'* 

A more circumstantial myth is recorded from the Kei 
Islands in the extreme south-east of the Indonesian area. 
According to this tale,^ there were three brothers and two sisters 
in the upper sky-world. While fishing one day, Parpara, the 
youngest of the brothers, lost a fish-hook which he had bor- 
rowed from Hian, his oldest brother, who, angered by the loss 
of the hook, demanded that it be found and returned to him. 
After much fruitless search, the culprit met a fish who asked 
him what his trouble was, and who, on learning the facts, 
promised to aid in the search, at length discovering another 
fish who was very ill because of something stuck in its throat. 
The object proved to be the long-lost hook, which the friendly 
fish delivered to Parpara, who thus was able to restore it to its 
owner. Parpara, however, determined to have his revenge 
upon his brother, and so he secretly fastened a bamboo vessel 
full of palm liquor above Hian's bed in such a way that 
when the latter rose, he would be almost certain to upset it. 
The expected happened, and Parpara then demanded of his 
brother that he return to him the spilled liquor. Hian en- 
deavoured, of course fruitlessly, to gather it up, and in his 
efforts dug so deeply into the ground that he made an open- 
ing clear through the sky-world. Wondering what might lie 
below, the brothers determined to tie one of their dogs to a 
long rope and lower him through the aperture; and when they 
had done this, and the dog had been drawn up again, they found 


white sand sticking to his feet, whereupon they resolved to go 
down themselves, although the other inhabitants of the heaven- 
world refused to accompany them thither. Sliding down the 
rope, the three brothers and one of the sisters, together with 
their four dogs, safely reached the world which lay below, 
and which was thus discovered for the first time. As the second 
sister was descending, however, one of the brothers chanced 
to look up, at which his sister was so ashamed that she shook 
the rope and was hauled up by the other sky-people. In this 
way the three brothers with their sister were the first occu- 
pants of the world and became the ancestors of the human 

Although the existence of the earth is postulated in Mina- 
hassa, in the extreme north-east of Celebes, we find an origin 
given for some of the gods and for mankind.^ In the beginning 
the wind blew over the sea, and raising great waves, drove 
upon the shore the spume which their beating caused, the mass 
of foam being in the shape of an egg. The sun shone upon 
this, and from it was born a boy, who grew miraculously. 
One day, as he wandered along the shore, he saw a girl sitting 
upon a rock from which she had just been born, and taking 
her to wife, he thus became the parent of mankind. This and 
the preceding type, In which the cosmogonic element was 
wholly lacking, are, however, not common in Indonesia, and 
it is only when we turn to the next category that we find one 
current over large areas. 

This more wide-spread class assumes the existence of a sky- 
world or upper realm, and of a primeval sea below it In which 
or on which the world Is made. We may begin with the out- 
line of a myth told In Minahassa which is a variant off the 
one just given. According to this form,^ in the beginning there 
were only the sea and a great rock which was washed by the 
waves, and which, after first giving birth to a crane, sweated, 
from the sweat being produced a female deity called Lumi- 
mu-ut.^ Advised by the crane of the existence of the "original 


land," she got from thence two handfuls of earth which she 
spread upon the rock, and so she created the world, on which 
she planted the seeds of all plants and trees, obtaining 
them from the same "original land." ^° Having thus made 
the earth, Lumimu-ut ascended a mountain, where the west 
wind blew upon her and made her fruitful. In due time she 
bore a son, and when he had grown to manhood his mother 
advised him to seek a wife, but though he sought far and wide, 
he could find none. So Lumimu-ut gave him a staff, whose 
length was equal to her own stature, bidding him to seek for 
a woman who should be less tall than the staff, and telling 
him that when he should find such a person he would know 
that she was the one he was destined to marry. Mother and 
son then separated, one going to the right and one to the left, 
and travelled around the whole world until at last they met 
again, without recognizing each other, and lo! when he set 
the staff beside her, its length was greater than her stature, 
for without his knowledge the rod had increased in height. 
Believing, therefore, that the woman, who was indeed his own 
mother, was she of whom he had been told, he married her, 
and she bore him many children who became gods. This 
form of myth does not, indeed, directly refer to the sky-world, 
but speaks of the "original land" from which Lumimu-ut 
obtained earth and seeds for the construction of the world. 
It is interesting to compare the incident of the birth of Lu- 
mimu-ut from the rock, which alone broke the surface of the 
primeval sea, with the Tongan ^^ and Samoan ^^ myths of the 
origin of the first beings and of the world from a stone which 
split open; and a similar idea also occurs in Melanesia. ^^ Per- 
haps more characteristic of this type of origin-myths are the 
legends of the Kayan, Kenyah, and Bahau of central Borneo. 
According to the Kayan,^^ originally there was nothing but 
the primeval sea and over-arching sky; but from the heavens 
there fell into the sea a great rock, upon whose barren surface, 
in course of time, slime collected, from which were bred worms 


that bored into the rock. The sand produced by this boring 
collected, eventually covering the rock with soil, and after 
many years there fell from the sun upon this land the wooden 
handle of a sword which, taking root, grew into a great tree; 
while from the moon fell a vine which clung to the tree and 
rooted itself in the rock. From this mating of the tree and vine 
were born two beings, a boy and a girl, who wedded in their 
turn and became the ancestors of the Kayan.^^ Another ver- 
sion ^® varies somewhat in its details. In the beginning a 
spider descended from the sky ^^ and spun a web, into which 
fell a tiny stone that grew and grew until it filled all the space 
under the horizon. A lichen fell from heaven upon this rock, 
to which it adhered, and then came a worm, from whose ex- 
crement the first soil was formed. This covering of earth 
gradually spread over all the rock; and next there fell upon 
the ground so made a tree, which at first was tiny in size, but 
which took root and grew great. A crab now dropped down 
to the earth and with its claws dug and scratched in the ground, 
thus forming the mountains and valleys. Plants grew upon 
the earth, and a vine, winding itself about the tree, mated 
with it. Finally, two beings, one male and one female, de- 
scended from heaven upon the tree, the male dropping a sword- 
handle and the female a spindle. Mating, these objects bore 
a child which had only head and body, but no arms or legs; 
and this monster in its turn produced two children, a boy and 
girl, who united and gave birth to offspring, which from gen- 
eration to generation became more and more human in form 
until finally they were wholly so. These and their descendants 
then became deities of various sorts. ^^ 

With them we may compare the origin-myths of several 
of the tribes of south-eastern Borneo. One version states ^^ 
that in the beginning there were only the sky and sea, in which 
swam a great serpent upon whose head was a crown of gold 
set with a shining stone. 2° From the sky-world the deity threw 
earth upon the serpent's head, thus building an island in the 


midst of the sea; and this island became the world. ^^ A slightly 
variant account ^^ declares that the deity sent down a mes- 
senger or servant to report upon conditions, and that it was 
this servant who spread the earth on the serpent's head. 
Still another version from this same region is interesting in 
that it serves as a transition to those found in Sumatra. Ac- 
cording to this tale,^^ in the world of the gods there were two 
trees, one of which bore a bud or sprout in the form of a ball. 
By the motions of a bird, which sat on this tree, the bud 
was shaken off and fell into the Spirit River, in which a great 
serpent dwelt; but though the latter tried to swallow the mys- 
terious object, it escaped him, and drifting to the shore, was 
metamorphosed into a woman. Marrying a man who was 
developed from a tree-trunk floating in the sea, she gave birth, 
first, to six streams of blood from which all evil spirits came; 
and finally to two sons, one of whom, taking with him the 
seeds of all plants and animals, was lowered from the sky- 
world, where all these events occurred, to the earth (of whose 
origin nothing is said) that he might prepare it for men. 

Deferring for the moment any discussion of these tales, we 
may turn to a third group of myths, i. e. those of the Battak 
of Sumatra. The Toba Battak (who of all the Battak tribes 
are probably the least influenced by Muhammadan or Indian 
culture) account for the origin of things as follows.^* Mula 
Dyadi, the highest deity, dwelt in the uppermost of the seven 
heavens and had two birds as his servants. Having created 
three male beings, he caused a tree to exist in one of the lower 
heavens, its branches reaching to the sky; next he made 
a hen, which perched on the tree and later laid three eggs, from 
which came three maidens whom Mula Dyadi gave as wives 
to his three sons.^^ The daughter of one of these sons refused 
to marry a cousin of hers because he had a face like a lizard 
and a skin like a chameleon, and devoted her time to spinning. 
One day she dropped her spindle, which fell down from the 
sky-world. On the thread so unrolled she then descended to 


the surface of the sea which stretched everywhere below. In 
this primeval ocean swam or lay a great serpent on whose head 
the heavenly maiden spread a handful of earth brought down 
at her request from Mula DyadI by one of his bird servants; 
and thus she formed the world. The serpent, however, dis- 
liked the weight upon his head, and turning over, caused 
this newly made world to be engulfed by the sea. Thereupon 
Mula DyadI created eight suns, whose heat should dry up 
the sea, and this being done in part, the divine maiden thrust 
a sword into the body of the serpent, revealed by the shrink- 
ing sea, and fastened his body firmly in an island block that 
he might never again thus destroy the world. With more 
soil she then re-founded the earth; but after this, having 
questioned her as to what was to be done with the youth whom 
she refused as husband, Mula DyadI declared that she now 
must marry him, and wrapping the unwelcome suitor together 
with a blowgun in a mat, he threw him down upon the earth. 
Unharmed by his fall, and feeling hungry, he shot at a dove 
which escaped unwounded, but caught the arrow dexterously 
and flew with it to the village where the heavenly maiden dwelt. 
Following in pursuit, the youth discovered the girl who had 
before refused him, found her more tractable, and married her; 
and so they became the ancestors of mankind. 

The Dairi Battak, who live to the north of the Toba and 
are .more or less in contact with the Muhammadanized Garo, 
have a version ^^ which presents interesting differences. Batara 
Guru (Sanskrit Bhattara Guru), the highest of the gods, once 
sent a servant to get some venison, which was greatly desired 
by the deity's wife, who was about to give birth to a child. 
The hunt being unsuccessful, the divinity then sent the raven 
on the same quest, but he also could find no such food any- 
where in the realms of the gods. In the course of his search, 
however, he discovered a cave. In which was a pit whose bottom 
he could not discern. The longest vine was too short to measure 
its depth, and a stick thrown down the opening disappeared 

IX — 12 


without a sound to indicate that it reached bottom. Deter- 
mined to solve the mystery, the raven flew down into the open- 
ing, and after a long journey in complete darkness at last 
reached the surface of a wide-extending sea. After exploring 
in vain, the raven wished to return in order that he might re- 
port his discovery, but could not retrace his way to the open- 
ing through which he had come, though luckily he found 
floating upon the sea the bamboo which he had thrown down 
the hole, and on this he rested. 

Meanwhile Batara Guru became impatient, and accompa- 
nied by several attendants, he flew down the dark opening in 
the cave, taking with him from the sky-world a handful of 
earth, seven pieces of wood, a chisel, a goat, and a bumble- 
bee; and reaching the surface of the sea, he built a raft from 
the pieces of wood. The raven now appeared, sitting upon 
the floating piece of bamboo, and at his request Batara Guru 
called to the eight wind-directions, whereupon darkness at 
once gave place to light. By his command the goat, accom- 
panied by the bee, went down under the raft to support it on 
his horns; but in finishing the raft the chisel broke, and the 
handle hit the goat upon the head, which made him shake it 
violently, and the raft with it, for which the deity chided him 
and ordered him to keep still. Then taking the earth which 
he had brought with him, Batara Guru spread it upon the 
raft, thus making the world, and gave this to the raven for a 

One more version may be given, that from the Karo Battak, 
who, like the Dairi, live north of the Toba. According to this,^^ 
Batara Guru, the heaven deity, and his wife, who was the 
daughter of the divinity of the underworld, full of sorrow at 
their childlessness, determined to try the effect of penance in 
poverty and seclusion, and accordingly went to live in a little 
hut • by the sea. Here they planted a small garden, which 
was destroyed by a great serpent that came out of the water, 
but when Batara Guru went to drive it away, the monster 


demanded that he put food Into its mouth. Fearing lest his 
hand be bitten off, Batara Guru wedged open the mouth of 
the serpent with his sword, and withdrawing his hand, found 
upon his finger a magic ring which would grant his every wish. 
The serpent then returned to the sea, and in due course of 
time, aided by the ring, the wife of Batara Guru presented him 
with three sons and three daughters. One of these sons created 
the world in the space between the upper world and the under- 
world, making it with seven handfuls of soil sent him by his 
father, who, when the earth was finished, suspended it from 
the sky by seven silken cords. The newly created world caused 
the underworld to be darkened, which aroused anger in that 
one of the three sons who had taken up his residence there. 
Therefore he shook the world so violently that it was destroyed. 
Seven times this was repeated, the earth being made anew each 
time, until the world-maker besought his father to aid him, 
and this Batara Guru did, setting up an iron pillar which sup- 
ported four cross-beams, upon which the world was then 
founded. After this the underworld-brother could shake the 
world (as indeed he does to this day), but was unable to de- 
stroy it. 

Taking this whole group of myths together, there are a 
number of points which will repay brief discussion. The con- 
cept of an original sea, above which lies the sky-world of the 
gods, is common to all, and is likewise characteristic, it will be 
remembered, of the cosmogonic myths of central and western 
Polynesia.^* The origin of the world, moreover, from a rock 
thrown down from the sky, or from materials brought or sent 
down from thence, appears not only in the portions of In- 
donesia from which the foregoing myths are derived, but also 
in the Philippines,^^ and is further characteristic of Samoa ^° 
and Tonga,^^ while it is likewise known from Micronesia.^^ 
The prominent part taken by birds, either as the original 
beings who flew over the primeval sea, or as the messengers 
and helpers of the deity in the task of creation, is also a fea- 


ture of the mythology of Samoa ^' and Tonga.^^ Again, the 
idea that the first beings, whether gods or men, were unde- 
veloped, having merely bodies destitute of arms and legs, 
is found not only in Borneo, but also in the island of Nias,^^ 
and recurs in Samoa and the Society Group; ^^ while the in- 
cident of the mating of tree and vine, characteristic of central 
Borneo, is known in Samoa as well.^^ 

From the foregoing it would seem, therefore, that we were 
justified in the conclusion that the cosmogonic myths of cen- 
tral and western Polynesia show similarity to the type of 
origin-myths just described in Indonesia — a similarity so 
striking, indeed, that a genetic relationship seems almost the 
only explanation. It has already been shown ^^ that this type 
of myth is unknown elsewhere in Polynesia, and that there is 
reason to regard it as a comparatively late introduction into 
the Polynesian area. 

In one of the Minahassa myths which has been given, an 
important incident is that of the incest of mother and son, the 
tale describing the two as separating, meeting without recog- 
nition after a lapse of time,^^ then marrying when a test had 
been applied which showed that the two were destined to be- 
come man and wife. The episode is known in practically the 
same form from the island of Lombok,^° and also from Nias," 
except that the staif is replaced by a ring as the test; and the 
essential element of mother-son incest is likewise found in the 
Philippines.'*^ A modification of the original theme, by which 
the close relationship is discovered in time to prevent incest, 
is known among the Bantik of north Celebes ^^ and also in 
west Borneo,^^ though here the motif occurs in other than 
cosmogonic tales. Brother-sister incest is, moreover, a wide- 
spread incident in Philippine myths *^ of the origin of man- 
kind, as will be seen in more detail later. With this far-reach- 
ing element of incest in Indonesia it is interesting and perhaps 
significant to compare, on the one hand, the frequent appear- 
ance of father-daughter incest in Maori mythology,*^ where 


Tane marries his daughter, Hine-a-tauira, who flees to the 
underworld in fear and anger when she discovers who her hus- 
band is. (It may be added that in one of the Philippine ver- 
sions we again find this same flight of the injured wife to the 
underworld.) On the other hand, the incest theme as developed 
in Indonesia may be compared with its occurrence among the 
Mon-Hkmer and other tribes of south-eastern Asia.^^ As al- 
ready pointed out, suggestions of this motif are found in the 
Society Group in Polynesia; and in the same connexion we 
may, perhaps, compare the incident of Lumimu-ut's fertiliza- 
tion by the wind ^^ with the similar action of the sun's rays in 
Samoa ^^ and Fiji.^" 

The origin-legends of the north-west Borneo tribes are re- 
lated to the type of cosmogonic myth which has just been con- 
sidered in that they set forth belief in a primeval sea and in 
the important part played by birds, although they imply 
something more of a direct creation. According to one of these," 
in the beginning there was nothing but a wide-spread sea, over 
which flew two birds, who, diving, brought up two objects 
like eggs in size and shape, from one of which one bird made 
the sky, while from the other his fellow created the earth. As 
the size of the latter exceeded that of the former, it was pressed 
together in order that it might fit, its resultant crumples and 
folds producing the mountains and valleys. Other versions ^^ 
speak of an original deity without legs or arms, who seems to 
have been supported upon an animal,^^ and who by an act of 
will created two birds, which then formed heaven and earth. 

The cosmogonic myths thus far discussed are derived from 
western and central Indonesia; and we may now turn to the 
eastern portion of this area, where another type appears, 
albeit the available material is exceedingly scanty. Indeed, of 
true myth-material we have only fragments from the small 
islands north-east of Timor (the Sermata and Leti Islands).^* 
These seem to indicate a belief in a sky-world and a world 
below, of whose origins, however, nothing is said.^^ On the 


other hand, it may be noted that in all of the islands, from and 
including Timor to the Kei Islands, there is a belief in a male 
deity living in the sky and associated chiefly with the sun, 
and a female deity dwelling in or regarded as one with the 
earth, these being described as husband and wife, and being 
supposed to mate annually at the time of the monsoon, while 
it was also believed that the sky once was closer to the earth.^® 
In Ceram, Buru, and Amboina, the definiteness of this con- 
cept of the heaven father and earth mother becomes clearer; 
but we have no myths, not even fragments, regarding them. 
In view of the almost total lack of cosmogonic myth material 
from this region, as well as from Halmahera and the other 
islands of the Moluccas, it is premature to draw any conclu- 
sions from the resemblance of this concept to the similar, but 
much more highly developed, ideas in Polynesia; yet it is diffi- 
cult to avoid the impression that the strength of the belief 
here in the extreme eastern portion of Indonesia, which is 
geographically nearest to the Polynesian area, and its ap- 
parent absence elsewhere farther west, are significant. Further 
material, however, alone can settle the question. 

In the Polynesian area one of the most characteristic and 
interesting types of cosmogonic myths was that which ex- 
plained the origin of the universe as due to a sort of evolu- 
tionary development from an original chaos or nothingness; 
and, at least in central Polynesia, this assumed a genealogical 
form. This evolutionary genealogical type of origin-myths 
seems, so far as available material goes, to be lacking in In- 
donesia, except in one very restricted region, the island of 
Nias, lying ofi" the western coast of Sumatra. According to 
myths from this island, there was in the beginning only dark- 
ness and fog, which condensed and brought forth a being with- 
out speech or motion, without head, arms, or legs; ^^ and in its 
turn this being gave existence to another, who died, and from 
whose heart sprang a tree which bore three sets of three buds. 
From the first two sets six beings were produced, two of whom 


made from the third set of buds a man and a woman — the 
ancestors of mankind.^^ The several variants of the myth 
differ in details, but all agree in tracing the origin of things to 
a primeval chaos, from which after several generations was 
developed a tree that in turn gave rise to gods and men. 
Although lacking the details and development found in Poly- 
nesia, these Nias myths seem to show the same fundamental 

Thus far we have mainly been concerned with the myths 
concerning the origin of the world; but now we may devote 
some consideration to those accounting for the origin of man- 
kind. Two main types may be distinguished: one comprising 
those in which man is not thought of as created or made, but 
as either (a) derived from a sky-world, {b) the offspring of the 
gods, or (c) of miraculous origin; and those characterized by a 
definite account of the actual making of the first man by some 
deity. The belief in a sky-world origin for mankind is in the 
main confined to the extreme eastern part of Indonesia — 
Ceram,^^ the Kei Islands,^" and the Tenimber Group." Only 
in the Kei Islands do we have a detailed myth; ^^ in the other 
instances it is simply stated that the ancestors came down 
from the sky, which was formerly nearer to the earth, by means 
of a tree or vine. The idea of a heavenly origin also appears 
in the extreme west, for among the various conflicting myths 
from the island of Nias ^^ one gives the sky-world as the ulti- 
mate origin of mankind, whereas others ^^ describe this as a 
proximate source, the ultimate and earliest human ancestors 
being derived from trees. A direct divine ancestry appears 
comparatively seldom. Among the Toba Battak mankind 
is descended from the divine maiden who came down to earth, 
and from the heavenly hero who followed her; in the southern 
Celebes the Bugi of Macassar believe themselves to be de- 
rived from the son of the heaven deity and his six wives; while 
in Nias ®^ and among the Ifugao In Luzon ®^ we also find the 
belief in a direct descent from deities. 


By far the most common, however, are those myths which 
trace mankind to some miraculous source, an origin from 
plants or trees being perhaps the most frequent of these. For 
the most part we have from the eastern and south-eastern 
islands only the statement that the ancestor or ancestors of 
mankind burst from a bamboo or tree,^^ although in some in- 
stances the tales are more precise. Thus in the Ceram-laut 
and Gorrom Islands it is said ^^ that in the beginning a woman 
of great beauty, called Winia, came out of a tree together 
with a white hog, the woman climbing into a tall tree, while 
the hog remained at its foot. After a time a raft floated ashore, 
on which was another woman, Kiliboban by name, who had 
drifted here from New Guinea and who became the comrade 
of the hog. Later a man (of whose origin nothing is said) came 
by and took off his clothing to go in fishing, but the two women 
saw him and laughed at him, whereupon, surprised that any 
one else was in the vicinity, the man sought for the source of 
the laughter and found Kiliboban, whom he straightway asked 
to be his wife. She, however, refused, but directed him to the 
tree in whose top Winia was concealed; so he climbed the tree 
forthwith, found the lovely damsel there, and taking her to be 
his wife, became by her the ancestor of mankind. 

In Amboina ^^ and Buru ^° the first human beings came from 
a tree after a bird had sat upon it and fructified it. In the 
latter island, according to one myth, the first to appear was a 
woman, who built a fire near the base of the tree, which it 
warmed, whereupon the tree split in two, and a man came 
forth who married the woman. A variant makes the man the 
first to appear. In Wetar '^^ the first woman came from the 
fruit of a tree; and far to the north, among the Ami, one of the 
wild tribes of Formosa, '^^ we find the same belief, for it is said 
that in the beginning a being planted in the ground a staff, 
which took root and became a bamboo on which two shoots 
developed, a man issuing from one of them and a woman from 
the other. Coming farther west to Celebes, traces of the idea 


are found in Minahassa,^^ where, according to one myth, a 
tree-trunk floated ashore, and from it, when it was broken open 
by a deity, a man (in reality a god) came forth. A similar 
tale from the Tagalog, in the Philippines, is reported,^'* in 
which two hollow bamboos floated ashore on the first land; 
these were pecked open by a bird, whereupon a man issued 
from the one and a woman from the other, the two thus be- 
coming the ancestors of mankind. The belief appears again in 
Borneo in a tale from the Kayan,^^ where the tree and vine 
of miraculous origin produce the ancestors of the different 
tribes; and a variant also occurs in south-east Borneo.^^ Lastly 
we find in Nias ^^ that man originated from the fruit of the 
tree, tora'a, which grew, according to one account, upon the 
back of one of the first beings derived from original chaos; or 
according to another, from his heart after his death. 

That the first men were derived from worms or came out 
of the ground as larvae is an idea apparently confined to the 
easterly islands, '^^ although little more is given than the mere 
statement of their origin. Perhaps related to this belief is that 
held in Watubela ^^ and the Kei Islands, ^° that the first men 
arose out of the ground. ^^ Among the Battak in Sumatra one 
myth ^2 tells of the birth of the first man from a featherless 
bird, which was sent down from the sky. 

Quite widely distributed, on the other hand, is the belief 
that mankind originated from eggs. In the Philippines ^^ a 
bird laid two eggs, one at the source of a river and one at its 
mouth, a woman coming from the first and a man from the 
second. For long years the man lived alone, until one day 
when he was bathing, a long hair, floating in the water, en- 
tangled his legs so that he reached the bank with difficulty. 
Examining the hair, he at once determined to find its owner, 
and so travelled up-stream until he met the woman, whom he 
then married. From south-eastern Borneo ^^ comes a different 
tale. After the world had been made by spreading earth on 
the head of the great serpent which swam in the primeval sea, 


a deity descended upon it and discovered seven eggs formed 
of earth. Taking two of these, he found in one a man, and in 
the other a woman, but both lifeless; whereupon, returning 
to the upper world, he asked the creator for breath, that the 
pair might become alive. While he was gone upon his errand, 
however, another deity came down and blew into the mouths 
of the two lifeless forms and vivified them, so that when the 
first deity returned, he found himself forestalled, and man- 
kind, which he had intended to make immortal, was now sub- 
ject to decay and death. Another version speaks of only two 
eggs, from which a human pair came forth and bore seven 
sons and seven daughters, who were, however, without life. 
At the command of the deity the husband went to get for 
them the germs of life, bidding his wife in his absence on no 
account to stir outside her mosquito-curtains; but she failed 
to obey, and as she looked out a blast of wind came and blew 
into the children, so that they breathed and became alive; 
whence man is mortal, and wind (or breath) is his only life. 
Another tale of the origin of mankind from eggs is found 
among the Battak of Sumatra.*^ In Celebes we have already 
seen ^^ how the first divine being was born miraculously from 
the rock or from the sweat which formed upon it; and an 
actual origin of mankind from a rock, which split open of 
itself, appears in Formosa. ^^ 

In the consideration of the cosmogonic myths the frequency 
of the incest incident has already been pointed out. In most 
of these cases the offspring of the incestuous union are divine 
or semi-divine beings, who may or may not be the ultimate 
ancestors of mankind; but the belief in a direct origin of man 
from such brother-sister or mother-son marriages seems es- 
pecially characteristic of the Philippine area, where it follows 
the flood-episode. As an example of these myths we may take 
the version given by the central Ifugao.^^ As the waters rose, 
people sought refuge on the mountains, until at last only two 
survived, a brother and sister, Wigan and Bugan, one of them 


on Mt. Amuyao and the other on Mt. Kalauitan. Bugan had 
a fire, which at night lit up the peak of Kalauitan, and Wigan 
then knew that someone else beside himself was alive. "As 
soon as the earth was dry, Wigan journeyed to Kalauitan 
where he found his sister Bugan, and their reunion was most 
joyous. They descended the mountain and wandered about 
until they came to the beautiful valley that is today the dwell- 
ing-place of the Banauol clan — and here Wigan built a house. 
When the house was finished, Bugan dwelt in the upper part 
and Wigan slept beneath. 

"Having provided for the comfort of his sister, Wigan started 
out to find if there were not other people left alive in the Earth 
World. He travelled about all the day and returned to the 
house at night to sleep. He did this for three days, and then 
as he was coming back on the third evening he said to himself 
that there were no other people in the world but themselves, 
and if the world was to be re-populated it must be through 
them ... At last Bugan realized that she was pregnant. 
She burst into violent weeping, and heaping reproaches on his 
head, ran blindly away. After travelling a long way, and being 
overcome with grief and fatigue, Bugan sank down upon the 
bank of the river and lay there trembling and sobbing. After 
having quieted herself somewhat, she arose and looked around 
her, and what was her surprise to see sitting on a rock near 
her an old man with a long white beard! He approached her 
and said: 'Do not be afraid, daughter! I am Maknongan, 
and I am aware of your trouble, and I have come to tell you 
that it is all right.' While he was speaking, Wigan, who had 
followed his sister, appeared on the scene. Then Maknongan 
placed the sanction and blessing of the gods upon their mar- 
riage, assuring them that they had done right, and that through 
them the world must be repeopled. He told them to return to 
their house, and whenever they were in trouble to offer sacri- 
fices to the gods. ... In the course of time nine children were 
born to Wigan and Bugan, five sons and four daughters. The 


four oldest sons married the four daughters, and from them are 
descended all the people of the earth-world." Here the actors 
are treated frankly as human beings, as they are by the Igorot ^^ 
and Mandaya,^° although In another Ifugao version (from 
the Klangan) ^^ they are really divine. In NIas ^^ we again see 
this distinctly human character emphasized. In these Philippine 
versions the unintentional character of the Incest, as recorded 
in the cosmogonic tales and In those from NIas, does not appear, 
though It does come to the fore In stories from other Philippine 
tribes which do not relate to the origin of mankind, such as 
the Tagalog,^^ and In variants from western Borneo ^^ and 
Celebes, ^^ where the relationship Is discovered in time and 
incest is avoided. Thus, in a legend from the first area, a man 
deserts his wife and son, the latter of whom, when he has grown 
up, goes in search of his father, returning only after many 
years. In the meanwhile his mother has kept her youthful 
appearance, and unrecognized by the son, who is captivated 
by her beauty, is wooed by him. She, In her turn, does not 
recognize her son, but just as they are about to marry, a scar 
on his head reveals his identity to her. At first dismayed, the 
pair finally resolve to carry out their plans, but are suddenly 
turned to stone. 

We have thus far dealt only with those myths of the origin 
of mankind In which the element of an actual creation does 
not enter. There remain to be considered those in which this 
creative theme occurs, the most widely spread form of the 
myth being that in which man is made from earth or clay. 
Thus, beginning in the east, we find that in Halmahera ®^ man 
was made by a servant of the deity, who formed two figures 
from earth, one male and one female. When these were finished, 
he ascended to the sky-world to get the breath of life for them, 
but while he was gone, an evil deity destroyed the images. 
The divine messenger made the figures a second time, but 
when they were again demolished, he took the faeces of the 
evil beings, and from it shaped the figures of two dogs, which 


he endued with Hfe and ordered to guard the two new images of 
human beings which he made. This time his efforts were suc- 
cessful; for when the evil being came, he was driven away by 
the dogs, and the divine messenger bringing the breath of 
life, vivified the two human effigies so that they became the 
first of mankind. 

In Minahassa ^^ the deity makes two images of earth, one male 
and one female, whom he vivifies by blowing powdered ginger 
into their heads and ears. The Bagobo of Mindanao say ®^ 
that after the creation of the sea and land, and the planting of 
trees of many kinds, the creator took two lumps of earth, and 
shaping them like two human figures, he spat on them, where- 
upon they became "man and woman." In Sumatra the Dairi 
Battak say ^^ that after the deity, Batara Guru, had finished 
the earth, he desired to people it and accordingly first sent 
down a swallow, which returned, however, saying that it did 
not like the dwelling assigned to it. Batara Guru then wished 
one of his children to descend, but none of them were willing 
to exchange their heavenly for an earthly home. Determined 
to succeed, the deity himself came down to earth, bidding 
the swallow return to the sky to bring thence some earth 
from which he might shape man. With the material so pro- 
vided, Batara Guru made two images, one male and one 
female, and set them In the sun to dry. After they had become 
hard, he muttered a magic formula over them seven times, 
and when they then began to breathe, he repeated another 
formula with which one may force another to speak. Then 
the two images spoke and said, "What do you wish of us, 
Grandfather, that you cry thus loudly in our ears.^"' and he 
replied: I have called to you so loudly because I have created 
you in order that you might speak. Never forget that I am 
your grandfather. Obey my commands and never refuse to 
follow them." This the newly created pair promised to do. 

An Interesting variant of ordinary creation-myths occurs 
in south-eastern Borneo.^°° Here the two wonder-trees on the 


new-formed earth mated and produced an egg, from which a 
phantom maiden came. A divine being descended to earth, 
and seeing the Hfeless and intangible character of the maiden, 
went to get what was necessary to give her Hfe and substance; 
but while he was away another deity became active, and gath- 
ering earth for her body, rain for her blood, and wind for her 
breath, made the beautiful shade alive and tangible. When 
the first deity returned and discovered what had happened, 
in anger he broke the vessel that he had brought; and the water 
of life which it contained flew in every direction and watered 
all plants, which thus acquired the power of springing up after 
having been cut down; but man did not receive any of the 
precious fluid and so failed to acquire immortality. The use 
of stone as a material, instead of earth, occurs among the 
Toradja in Celebes. ^°^ The heaven father and earth mother 
having made two stone figures, one male and one female, the 
heaven deity returned to the skies to procure the breath of 
immortality with which to infuse life into the images; but in 
his absence the wind blew into them and vivified them, and 
on this account man is mortal. Another version ^°^ omits the 
attempt to secure immortality. A somewhat different form of 
origin-myth describes a series of attempts at creation in which 
different materials are tried, the first trials being failures, 
although success is finally achieved. Thus the Dyaks of the 
Baram and Rejang district in Borneo say ^°' that after the 
two birds, Iri and Ringgon, had formed the earth, plants, and 
animals they decided to create man. "At first, they made 
him of clay, but when he was dried he could neither speak nor 
move, which provoked them, and they ran at him angrily; so 
frightened was he that he fell backward and broke all to pieces. 
The next man they made was of hard wood, but he, also, was 
utterly stupid, and absolutely good for nothing. Then the 
two birds searched carefully for a good material, and even- 
tually selected the wood of the tree known as Kumpong, which 
has a strong fibre and exudes a quantity of deep red sap, 


whenever It Is cut. Out of this tree they fashioned a man and 
a woman, and were so well pleased with this achievement 
that they rested for a long while, and admired their handiwork. 
Then they decided to continue creating more men; they re- 
turned to the Kumpong tree, but they had entirely forgotten 
their original pattern, and how they executed It, and they were 
therefore able only to make very Inferior creatures, which 
became the ancestors of the Maias (the Orang Utan) and 

A similar tale Is found among the Iban ^'^ and Sakarram 
Dyaks,^^^ only reversing the order, so that after twice fail- 
ing to make man from wood, the birds succeeded at the 
third trial when they used clay. Farther north, among the 
Dusun of British North Borneo,^°^ the first two beings "made 
a stone In the shape of a man but the stone could not talk, so 
they made a wooden figure and when It was made It talked, 
though not long after it became worn out and rotten; after- 
wards they made a man of earth, and the people are descended 
from this till the present day." The Bllan of Mindanao ^°^ have 
a similar tale. After the world had been formed and was 
habitable, one of the deities said, "Of what use Is land without 
people?" So the others said, "Let us make wax Into people," 
and they did so; but when they put the wax near the fire, It 
melted. Seeing that they could not create man that way, they 
next decided to form him out of dirt, and Melu and Finu- 
weigh began the task. All went well until they were ready to 
make the nose, when FInuweIgh, who was shaping this part, 
put It on upside down, only to have Melu tell him that people 
would drown If he left It that way, for the rain would run Into 
It. At this FInuweIgh became very angry and refused to change 
It, but when he turned his back, Melu seized the nose quickly 
and turned It as It now Is; and one may still see where, in his 
haste, he pressed his fingers at the root. Another account 
says that the Images made of earth were vivified by whipping 
them.^°* In a few cases we find that man was supposed to have 


been made of other materials. Thus the Ata in Mindanao 
declare ^"^ that grass was the substance used, whereas the 
Igorot in Luzon say ^^° that the ancestors of all others than 
themselves were made from pairs of reeds. In Nias one ver- 
sion states ^^^ that man was formed from the fruits or buds of 
the tree which grew from the heart of one of the earliest beings, 
while various gods developed from the buds on the upper part 
of the tree. "When these two lowest fruits were still very 
small, Latoere said to Barasi-loeloe and Balioe, 'The lowest 
fruits are mine.' But Balioe answered, 'See, then, if you can 
make man of them. If you can do that, they belong to you; 
otherwise, not.' Latoere being unable to form men from them, 
Lowalangi sent Barasi-loeloe thither; but he could shape noth- 
ing more than the bodies of men, although he made one male 
and one female. Then Lowalangi took a certain weight of 
wind, gave it to Balioe, and said, 'Put all of this in the mouth 
of the image for a soul. If it absorbs all of it, man will at- 
tain to a long life; otherwise, he will die sooner, just in pro- 
portion to the amount which is left over of the soul that is 
offered him.' Balioe did what Lowalangi had told him, and 
then he gave the people names." In a few instances still other 
substances are said to have been used from which to make 

Myths relative to the creation of animals ascribe various 
origins to them. Some of the Kayan in Borneo say "^ that 
two of the descendants of the armless and legless monster de- 
rived from the sword-handle and spindle that fell from heaven, 
cast pieces of bark upon the ground, and that these turned 
into swine, fowl, and dogs; while others declare ^^* that all the 
birds, beasts, and fish were derived from the leaves and the 
twigs of the wonder-tree. In south-eastern Borneo ^^^ serpents, 
tigers, and all noxious animals were formed from the body of 
Angoi, the deity who had provided humankind with breath. 
When the other divinity, who had wished to bring man im- 
mortal life from heaven, found his endeavours forestalled, in 


his anger he attacked Angoi and killed him, after which he 
cut up the body and scattered it far and wide, and from these 
fragments came all the harmful animals. ^^^ From the Ifugao 
in the Philippines "^ we have a more detailed account. The 
child of a sky-maiden and a mortal was cut in two, the mother 
returning to the heavens with her half and the husband re- 
taining the other portion. Unable to restore this moiety to 
life, the father left it to decay; but learning of this fact, the 
mother descended and from it made various animals, birds, 
and the like — from the head, the owl; from the ears, a cer- 
tain tree fungus; from the nose, a mollusc; from the bones of 
the breast, a serpent; from the heart, the rainbow; from the 
hair, worms and maggots; from the skin, a bird; from part of 
the blood, bats; and from the intestines, several sorts of animals. 
The Mandaya in Mindanao state ^^^ that "the sun and moon 
were married and lived happily together until many children 
had been born to them. At last they quarrelled and the moon 
ran away from her husband. . . . After the separation of their 
parents the children died, and the moon gathering up their 
bodies cut them into small pieces and threw them into space. 
Those fragments which fell into the water became fish, those 
which fell on land were converted into snakes and animals, 
while 'those which fell upward' remained in the sky as stars." 
Of the origin of the sun and moon several accounts are given. 
According to the Kayan of central Borneo,^^^ the moon, at 
least, was one of the descendants of the armless and legless 
being sprung from the sword-handle and spindle which fell 
from heaven; but in Celebes ^^° sun, moon, and stars were 
made from the body of a celestial maiden ;^^^ while in Nias ^^^ 
sun and moon were shaped from the eyes ^^ of the armless 
and legless being, out of whose heart grew the tree from the 
buds of which men and gods originated. Elsewhere in Indonesia 
the sun and moon are either said to have been created, or noth- 
ing is stated regarding their origin. In Polynesia a theme which 
has been shown to be wide-spread is that of the separation of 

IX— 13 


heaven and earth and the raising of the heavens; or the beHef 
that formerly the sky was low and close to the earth, and that 
a deity or a demigod later uplifted it to its present place. 
The same concept appears also in the Indonesian area. Among 
the Ifugao, in the Philippines, it is said ^^* that the sky was once 
so very near to the earth that it interfered with the plying of 
the spear, while Its cannibalistic propensities were causing the 
extermination of mankind. ^^^ The aid of the gods was accord- 
ingly invoked, whereupon one of them, who had always re- 
mained in a sitting position, suddenly rose and with his head 
and shoulders thrust the heavens far above. The Tagalog 
also state ^^^ that the sky was once so low that it could be 
touched with the hand, and when men were playing, they 
would strike their heads against It, whence they became angry 
and threw stones at it, so that a deity withdrew it to its present 
position. The Manobo of Mindanao say ^^^ that the sky was 
so close to the earth that a woman hit It with her pestle 
while pounding rice, whereupon the heavens ascended to a 
great height. A similar tale is known also to the Bagobo in 
the same island. -^^^ The theme of raising the sky is well known 
in Borneo. In the north-west the deed was accomplished by 
the daughter of the first man,^^^ while the Dusun of British 
North Borneo declare that the sky, originally low, retreated 
when six of the seven original suns were killed. ^^° Similar tales 
are told In the south-east and elsewhere in the island,^^^ and 
also occur in Nias,^^^ RottI, and Loeang-sermata.^^^ 

Deluge-myths appear to be fairly well developed In Indo- 
nesia and show some features of interest; while In the Philip- 
pines, as already pointed out, the origin-legends In many Instan- 
ces begin with such a tale. As told by the Ifugao of Klangan, 
the story runs as follows. ^^* "The first son of Wigan, called 
Kablgat, went from the sky-region, Hudog, to the Earth World 
to hunt with dogs. As the earth was then entirely level, his dogs 
ran much from one side to another, pursuing their quarry, and 
this they did without Kablgat hearing their barking. In conse- 


quence of which, it is reported that Kabigat said: 'I see that 
the earth is completely flat, because there does not resound 
the echo of the barking of the dogs.' After becoming pensive 
for a little while he decided to return to the heights of the Sky 
World. Later on he came down again, with a very large cloth, 
and went to close the exit to the sea of the waters of the rivers, 
and so it remained closed. He returned again to Hudog, and 
went to make known to Bongabong that he had closed the out- 
let of the waters. Bongabong answered him: 'Go thou to the 
house of the Cloud and of the Fog, and bring them to me.' For 
this purpose he had given permission beforehand to Cloud and 
Fog, intimating to them that they should go to the house of 
Baiyuhibi, and so they did. Baiyuhibi brought together his 
sons . . . and bade them to rain without ceasing for three days. 
Then Bongabong called . . . and so they ceased. Wigan said, 
moreover, to his son Kabigat, 'Go thou and remove the stopper 
that thou hast placed on the waters,' and so he did. And in 
this manner, when the waters that had covered the earth be- 
gan to recede, there rose up mountains and valleys formed by 
the rushing of the waters. Then Bongabong called Mumba'an 
that he might dry the earth, and so he did." 

The central Ifugao have a different version. ^^^ According to 
this, "One year when the rainy season should have come it did 
not. Month after month passed by and no rain fell. The river 
grew smaller and smaller day by day until at last it disappeared 
entirely. The people began to die, and at last the old men said: 
'If we do not soon get water, we shall all die. Let us dig down 
into the grave of the river, for the river is dead and has sunk 
into his grave, and perhaps we may find the soul of the river 
and it will save us from dying.' So they began to dig, and 
they dug for three days. On the third day the hole was very 
large, and suddenly they struck a great spring, and the water 
gushed forth. It came so fast that some of them were drowned 
before they could get out of the pit. 

"Then the people were happy, for there was plenty of water; 


and they brought much food and made a great feast. But while 
they were feasting it grew dark and began to rain. The river 
also kept rising until at last it overflowed its bank. Then the 
people became frightened and they tried to stop up the spring 
in the river, but they could not do so. Then the old men said, 
'We must flee to the mountains, for the river gods are angry 
and we shall all be drowned.' So the people fled toward the 
mountains and all but two of them were overtaken by the water 
and drowned. The two who escaped were a brother and sister 
named Wigan and Bugan — Wigan on Mt. Amuyao and Bugan 
on Kalauitan. And the water continued to rise until all the 
Earth World was covered excepting only the peaks of these 
two mountains. 

"The water remained on the earth for a whole season, or from 
rice planting to rice harvest. ... At last the waters receded 
from the earth and left it covered with the rugged mountains 
and deep valleys that exist today." 

More or less fragmentary versions of similar tales have been 
given from the Igorot,^^^ and it is probable that they also exist 
among the Tinguian.^^" In Mindanao ^^^ the Ata tell how In 
very early times the earth was covered with water, and all 
people were drowned, except two men and a woman, who were 
carried away and would have been lost, had they not been 
rescued by an eagle, who carried one man and the woman to 
their home. The Mandaya ^^^ in the same island have a still 
different account, according to which all the inhabitants of 
the world were once destroyed by flood, except one woman. 
When the waters had subsided, she gave birth to a son, who, 
when he grew up, married his mother, thus re-peopling the 

The Borneo versions are quite different. The Iban, or Sea 
Dyaks of Sarawak say ^^° that once, just as the harvest was 
ripe, it was found that a large part of the fields had been de- 
spoiled during the night. Since no tracks could be found, 
watch was kept, and a huge serpent was seen to lower itself 


from the sky and to feed upon the rice, whereupon one of the 
watchers, rushing up, cut off the snake's head and in the 
morning proceeded to cook some of the flesh from it for his 
breakfast. Hardly had he eaten, however, before the sky was 
overcast, dark clouds rolled up, and a terrible rain-storm caused 
a flood from which only those few persons escaped alive who 
succeeded in reaching the highest hills. The Dusun ^^^ of 
British North Borneo have a picturesque variant. "Long 
ago some men of Kampong Tudu were looking for wood to 
make a fence, and while they were searching they came upon 
what appeared to be a great tree-trunk, which was lying on 
the ground. They began to cut it with their parangs, intend- 
ing to make their fence from it, but to their surprise blood 
came from the cuts. So they decided to walk along to one end 
of the trunk and see what it was. When they came to the end 
they found that they had been cutting into a great snake and 
that the end of the 'trunk' was its head. They therefore made 
stakes and driving them into the ground bound the snake to 
them and killed it. Then they flayed the skin from the body 
and taking it and the meat home they made a great feast 
from its flesh. The skin of the snake they made into a great 
drum, and while they were drinking they beat the drum to 
try its sound, but for a long time the drum remained silent. 
At last, in the middle of the night, the drum began to sound 
of its own accord, *Duk Duk Kagu; Duk Duk Kagu.' Then 
came a great hurricane and swept away all the houses in the 
kampong; some of them were carried out to sea together with 
the people in them, others settled down at what is now Kam- 
pong Tempassuk and other places, and from them arose the 
present villages." ^^^ In Nias ^^^ the flood-myth takes a still 
different form. According to this, "once there was strife be- 
tween the mountains, each one desiring to be the highest. 
This angered one of the deities, who, saying, *Ye mountains! 
I shall cover you all,' took a golden comb and threw it into 
the ocean, where it was changed into a mighty crab, which 


stopped up the overflow of the sea. Then came a great rain, 
and these causes generated a vast quantity of water, which 
rose higher and higher until three mountains alone remained 
uncovered. All the people who fled to these with their animals 
were saved, but all others were drowned." 

Very commonly in savage mythology we find the idea that 
death was not originally intended to be the inevitable fate of 
mankind. In Polynesia, as has been shown,^*^ death was due 
to Maui's failure to pass through the body of Hine-nui-te-po, 
or to the express decree of some deity who wished man to die, 
in opposition to another divinity's wish that he should be im- 
mortal. In Indonesian tales immortality is lost, in many cases, 
by an error. Thus, the Dusun ^^^ in British North Borneo 
say that "When Kenharingan had made everything he said, 
'Who Is able to cast ofi" his skin.^ If anyone can do so, he shall 
not die.' The snake alone heard and said, 'I can.' And for 
this reason, till the present day, the snake does not die unless 
killed by man. (The Dusun did not hear or they would also 
have thrown off their skins and there would have been no 
death.)" 1^6 

The Nias myths ^^^ ascribe mortality to a mistake. When 
the earth was finished and complete, the divine being who had 
spread it out and shaped it fasted for many days, after which 
he received nine plates, each filled with a different sort of food. 
Choosing that with the ripe bananas, he threw away the plate 
on which were some shrimps, and in consequence of his hav- 
ing eaten the easily perishable food man perishes and decays, 
but the snake who ate the shrimps became immortal. In 
Celebes, Borneo, and elsewhere we have already seen ^^^ that 
the immortality designed for man by his creator was lost 
through the fact that while the creator had gone to secure the 
breath of life, the image made by him was vivified by the wind 
or by some other deity; hence man's life is as unstable as the 

Myths of the origin of fire present a number of difi'erent 


forms In Indonesia. According to the Igorot,^^^ only two per- 
sons survived after the flood, a brother and sister who had 
taken refuge on Mt. Pokis. "Lumawig descended and said: 
*0h, you are here!' And the man said: 'We are here, and here 
we freeze!' Then Lumawig sent his dog and his deer to Kalau- 
witan to get fire. They swam to Kalauwitan, the dog and 
the deer, and they got the fire. Lumawig awaited them. He 
said: 'How long they are coming!' Then he went to Kalau- 
witan and said to his dog and deer: 'Why do you delay in 
bringing the fire.'' Get ready! Take the fire to Pokis; let me 
watch you!' Then they went into the middle of the flood, 
and the fire which they had brought from Kalauwitan was put 
out! Then said Lumawig: 'Why do you delay the taking.'' 
Again you must bring fire; let me watch you!' Then they 
brought fire again, and he observed that that which the deer 
was carrying was extinguished, and he said: 'That which the 
dog has yonder will surely also be extinguished.' Then Luma- 
wig swam and arrived and quickly took the fire which his 
dog had brought. He took it back to Pokis and he built 
a fire and warmed the brother and sister." This theme of the 
fire being brought from another country by animals is also 
found in Melanesia, ^^° while the Ifugao of Kiangan have still 
another version. ^^^ After Bugan, who was the sister-wife of 
Kabigat, had become reconciled to her marriage by the praise 
of Muntalog, Kabigat's father, "Kabigat requested leave to 
return, but Muntalog answered: 'Wait one day more, until I 
in my turn go to my father Mumbonang.' Muntalog found 
his father and mother seated facing each other; and, upon 
his arrival, his mother, Mumboniag, came forward and asked 
him: 'What news do you bring from those lower regions, and 
why do you come.?' The father . . . inquired likewise as to 
the reason of his coming. Muntalog answered: 'I have come, 
father, to ask thee for fire for some Ifugaos who remain in the 
house of Ambumabbakal.' 'My son,' the father replied, 'those 
Ifugaos of yours could not arrive at (or, come to) Mumbonang 


without danger of being burned to cinders. ' Then he continued : 
*It Is well! Approach me! . . . Seize hold of one of those 
bristles that stand out from my hair,' and so Muntalog did. . . . 
Then Mumbonang said to him again: 'Come nigh! Take this 
white part, or extremity, of the eye that looks toward the 
north-east.' . . . And he took It and placed It In his hand. 
And Mumbonang said to him once more: 'Come near again, 
and take the part black as coal, the dirt of my ear which is 
as the foulness of my ear.' And so he did. Then Mumbonang 
said to Muntalog: 'Take these things and bring them to thy 
son Ambumabbakal and to Ngilln, In order that the latter may 
give them to the Ifugaos.' And he said again to Muntalog: 
'Take this white of my eye (flint), this wax from my ear 
(tinder), and this bristle or point like steel for striking fire, In 
order that thou mayest have the wherewith to attain what 
thou seekest.'" In this tale we have a closer approach to the 
various Polynesian myths of Maui and of his securing the fire 
from the fire-delty.^^^ 

From central Celebes ^^^ a different type Is recorded. Fire was 
given by the deity to the first men; but they allowed It to go 
out, and since they did not know the secret of how to make it, 
they sent a man named Tamboeja to the sky (which at that 
time was near the earth) to get flame. The Inhabitants of the 
sky-world told him that they would give him fire, but that he 
must cover his eyes with his hands so that he would not see 
how It was made. They did not know, however, that he had 
eyes under his arm-pits also, which enabled him to watch their 
actions and see how they made fire with flint and steel; and 
this secret, together with the fire Itself, he took back to earth 
and gave to men. 

Bornean myths of the origin of fire are as follows. Accord- 
ing to the Kayan,^^^ fire was Invented by an old man, named 
Laki 01, who discovered the method of making It by pulling 
a strip of rattan back and forth under a piece of wood. The 
Dyaks ^^^ of the Baram District describe the origin of fire as 


due to an accident. "One day when the man and the dog 
were In the jungle together, and got drenched by rain, the man 
noticed that the dog warmed himself by rubbing against a huge 
creeper (called the Aka Rawa), whereupon the man took a stick 
and rubbed It rapidly against the Aka Rawa, and to his surprise 
obtained fire." Later some food was accidentally dropped 
near the fire, and the man, finding it thus rendered more 
agreeable to the taste, discovered the art of cooking.^^® 


IN Polynesia the tales of the exploits of the hero Maui 
formed a cycle which was current everywhere in one form 
or another, and which was in many ways, perhaps, the most 
characteristic of legends as it was the most popular. Cor- 
responding to the Maui cycle in Polynesia in universality, 
characteristic quality, and popularity, but differing entirely 
in type, are the Indonesian trickster tales centring about the 
mouse-deer (kantjil or pelanduk), the tarsier ape, or the tor- 
toise; and these stories, of which there are very many ver- 
sions, may well be considered next, and before taking up those 
of more miscellaneous character. 

In these tales or fables (for very many of them are indeed 
such) the mouse-deer usually plays the leading part in Borneo, 
Java, and Sumatra, as well as among the Malays of the Malay 
Peninsula; whereas in Celebes and Halmahera the same ex- 
ploits are often attributed to the ape. Sundry other tales of a 
like character seem to be recorded only of the ape, and others 
again only of the tortoise. The order of the incidents varies 
considerably in different regions, although the series usually 
starts with a tricky exploit which rouses enmity and pursuit. 
In Java,^ the beginning is as follows. One day the kantjil was 
resting quietly when he heard a tiger approaching and feared 
for his life, wherefore, quickly taking a large leaf, he began to 
fan a pile of dung which happened to lie near. When the 
tiger came up, and overcome by curiosity asked what he was 
doing, the mouse-deer said, "This is food belonging to the 
king. I am guarding it." The tiger, being very hungry, at 


once wished to be allowed to eat the royal food, but the kantjil 
refused for a long time, advising him not to touch it and say- 
ing that it would be wrong to betray his trust; but at last he 
agreed to let the tiger have his way if he would promise to 
wait before eating it until he, the kantjil, had gone; for thus 
the blame might be escaped. No sooner said than done; so 
when the kantjil had reached a safe distance, he called back 
to the tiger, "You may begin now," whereupon the tiger hun- 
grily seized what he thought was a delicious morsel, only to be 
cruelly deceived. Furious at the trick played upon him by the 
little kantjil, he hurried after the fugitive to get his revenge.^ 

His Intended victim had meanwhile found a very ven- 
omous snake, which lay coiled up asleep. Sitting by this, he 
awaited the tiger's arrival, and when the latter came up rag- 
ing in pursuit, he told him that he had only himself to blame, 
since he had been warned not to eat the food. "But," said 
the kantjil, "you must keep quiet, for I am guarding the 
girdle of the king. You must not come near it, because it is 
full of magic power." The tiger's curiosity and desire being, 
of course, only stimulated by all this, he insisted that he be 
allowed to try on the precious girdle, to which the kantjil 
yielded with apparent reluctance, again warning him to be 
very careful and, as before, saying that the tiger must first 
let him get safely away, In order that no guilt might attach 
to him. When the kantjil had run off, the tiger seized the sup- 
posed magic girdle, only to be bitten by the snake, which he 
did not succeed In killing until after a severe struggle.^ 

Thirsting for vengeance, the tiger again took up the pursuit 
of his clever little adversary, who, meanwhile, had stopped to 
rest, so that when the tiger caught up with him, he found 
him sitting near a clump of tall bamboo. The kantjil greeted 
the tiger warmly and said, without giving the latter time to 
express his anger, that he had been appointed keeper of the 
king's trumpet. The tiger, Immediately desiring to try this 
wonderful instrument, was Induced to put his tongue between 


two of the bamboos, being told that, as soon as the wind 
blew, they would give fine music. The trickster ran off, and 
presently a strong gust arose, swayed the bamboos, and thus 
pinched the tiger's tongue entirely off.* 

Again the tiger gave chase, and this time found the kantjil 
standing beside a great wasp's-nest. As before, the trickster 
warned the tiger not to disturb him, for he was guarding the 
king's drum which gave out a very wonderful tone when 
struck; but the tiger, of course, was most anxious to have the 
opportunity of sounding it. With feigned reluctance, the kant- 
jil at last agreed, stipulating, as before, that he be allowed to 
get out of the way. As soon as he had put a safe distance be- 
tween himself and the tiger, he gave the signal, and the tiger 
struck the nest, only to be beset the next instant by a swarm 
of angry wasps.^ 

For another famous exploit of the trickster we may take a 
Bornean version.^ One day the mouse-deer was going out 
fishing when the tortoise, the deer, the elephant, and several 
other animals asked to be allowed to go with him. He agreed, 
and so large a catch was secured that the party resolved to 
smoke a portion to preserve it. The elephant remained be- 
hind next day to watch the drying fish; but while he was on 
guard there came a great crashing in the forest, and presently 
a huge giant appeared, a forest demon, who calmly stole the 
fish, ate them, and walked away without the elephant daring 
to stop him. When the fishermen returned, they were much 
disturbed over the loss of their fish, but as they again had a 
large supply, they left another of the party on guard next day. 
Once more the giant came and ate the whole, this continuing 
until all the animals had had their turn except the mouse-deer, 
and all had failed to prevent the giant's theft. The other ani- 
mals laughed at the tiny fellow's boast that now he would catch 
and kill the thief; but as soon as the fishermen had gone, he 
got four strong posts and drove them into the ground, after 
which he collected some rattan and began to plait four large 


strong rings. Before long the giant came crashing through the 
forest, but just as he was about to take the fish, he saw the 
mouse-deer, who kept busily at work and paid not the slightest 
attention to the intruder. Overcome by curiosity, the demon 
asked what the trickster was doing, and the latter replied that 
his friends suffered much from pains in the back, so that he 
was preparing a remedy for them. "That is interesting," said 
the giant, " for I, too, suffer much from pains in my back. I wish 
you would cure me." "All right," said the pelanduk. "Go 
over there and lie down, put your elbows close to your sides, 
and draw up your knees; and I will massage you and apply 
the cure." The giant at once complied, and the tricky mouse- 
deer, quickly slipping the strong rattan rings over the demon's 
arms, legs, and body, fastened them securely to the great 
posts. In vain did the giant struggle to get free, but the rattan 
bonds could not be broken, so that when the fishermen came 
back, they found the mouse-deer sitting quietly beside his cap- 
tive, whereupon they at once attacked the monster who had 
been so neatly trapped and beat him to death. Almost the 
same tale is found in German New Guinea,^ and the essential 
theme of binding or tying a giant by a ruse or in his sleep also 
appears elsewhere in Melanesia.^ 

One day the trickster fell by accident into a deep pit, from 
which he could not climb out, try as he would. For a long 
time he sat there wondering what to do, but at last an ele- 
phant came by, and seeing the mouse-deer, asked him what he 
was doing. The latter replied that he had information that 
the sky was going to fall and that all creatures would be 
crushed, whence he had taken refuge in this pit in order to 
save himself. Greatly alarmed, the elephant begged that he, 
too, might be allowed to come into the pit, and the trickster 
agreeing, he descended, whereupon the kantjil, seizing the 
opportunity, jumped upon the elephant's back, from which 
he was able to leap out of the pit; and so he ran away, leaving 
the elephant to his fate.^ 


Numerous tales are told of the tricks played by the mouse- 
deer on the crocodile. Once the former wished to cross a river 
which he was unable to wade or swim because it was in flood, 
so, standing upon the bank, he called for the crocodiles, say- 
ing that the king had given command that they should be 
counted. Accordingly, they came in great numbers and by 
the trickster's directions arranged themselves in a row extend- 
ing from bank to bank, whereupon the mouse-deer pretended 
to count them, jumping from one to the other and calling out, 
"one," "two," "three," etc., until he reached the opposite 
bank, when he derided them for their stupidity.^" 

Resolving to be avenged, the crocodile bided his time, and 
when the trickster came later to the river to drink, he seized 
one of the mouse-deer's legs in his mouth. Nothing dismayed, 
the captive picked up a branch and called out, "That is not 
my leg; that is a stick of wood. My foot is here." The croco- 
dile accordingly let go and snapped at the branch, thinking 
that it was really the trickster's leg; but this gave the needed 
opportunity, and the clever mouse-deer bounded away to 
safety, leaving the stupid crocodile with the stick in his mouth. ^^ 

The crocodile, however, determined not to go without his 
revenge, lay in wait, floating like a water-soaked log until the 
mouse-deer should visit the river again. When, after a while, 
he did come to the stream and saw the crocodile motionless, 
he stood on the bank and said, as if he were in doubt whether 
or not it was a log, "If that is the crocodile. It will float down- 
stream." The crocodile, resolving not to give himself away, 
remained motionless; and then the trickster added, "But If 
it is a log, it will float upstream." At once the crocodile began 
to swim slowly against the current, and the mouse-deer, hav- 
ing discovered what he wished, called out in derision, "Ha! 
ha! I have fooled you once more." ^^ 

The trickster is not invariably successful in avoiding cap- 
ture, although he usually manages to escape by a ruse. Thus, 
being caught one day in a trap while he was plundering a 


man's fields, he feigned death. The owner of the field discover- 
ing the culprit, and thinking that he was already dead, took 
him out of the snare, intending to carry him off, but when the 
man's back was turned the trickster jumped up and ran away.^^ 
On another occasion, the kantjil was caught, carried home by 
a man, and put in a cage to keep until his captor was ready to 
kill and eat him; but though the outlook was dark indeed, at 
last a stratagem occurred to him. A dog came by and asked 
why the mouse-deer was thus shut up, whereupon the latter 
said that he had been chosen as the husband of the chief's 
daughter and was to be kept in the cage until the morrow, 
when the wedding was to take place. The dog wished that he 
might marry the beautiful maiden himself and asked the 
captive if he would not be willing to have him change places. 
With apparent reluctance the trickster agreed, and the change 
being effected the mouse-deer was free once more.^^ 

Other adventures of the trickster In which he escapes by a 
ruse of a different sort are as follows. Being about to be at- 
tacked by the buffalo, who wished to kill him, the trickster 
put on his head a false pair of horns to alarm his adversary, 
and reddening them as if with blood, stood ready for the at- 
tack. When the buffalo appeared, the ape (who was the trick- 
ster in this instance) called out that he had just killed several 
other buffaloes and was quite ready for further conflict, where- 
upon his opponent, deceived by the imitated horns and blood, 
fled, thinking that he had caught a tartar.^^ 

A somewhat different version, in which the tiger is the ag- 
gressor, runs thus.^^ The tiger was seeking the kantjil to 
eat him, when the latter hastened to find a djati-pla.nt, whose 
leaves he chewed making his mouth blood-red; after which he 
went and sat down beside a well. By and by the tiger came 
along, and the trickster, assuming a fierce aspect and drivel- 
ling blood-red saliva from his mouth, said that the tiger had 
better look out, as he, the mouse-deer, was accustomed to 
eat tigers, and if the latter did not believe it, let him look in 


the well, in which he would see the head of the last one that 
he had finished. The tiger was much alarmed, though not 
wholly convinced, so he went to look In the well, where he 
saw, of course, the reflection of his own head. Thinking that 
this was really the head of the tiger which the mouse-deer had 
just eaten, and convinced of the trickster's might, the tiger 
ran away as fast as he could. 

The ape, however, encouraged the tiger not to be afraid of 
the trickster, who was not so terrible a person after all, and 
to prove this, he said that he would go with the tiger to seek 
the kantjil once more; while to demonstrate his good faith he 
proposed that they should tie their tails together so that they 
might thus make a common attack, the ape riding on the tiger's 
back. The latter agreed and In this way again approached 
the clever little rascal; but as soon as the latter saw them 
coming, he called out, "Ha! that is strange! There comes the 
ape who usually brings me two tigers every day as tribute, 
and now he is bringing only one." Terrified at this, the tiger 
ran away as fast as his legs would carry him; and the ape, 
being tied to his tail, was dashed against the rocks and trees 
and was killed. ^^ 

The wide-spread tale of the hare and the tortoise Is told 
almost universally through this Indonesian area, with the 
trickster, of course, playing the role of the hare. The story is 
everywhere so much alike and so well known that It Is scarcely 
necessary to give these local versions. ^^ 

The trickster tales so far presented have the mouse-deer for 
their hero in Sumatra, Java, and Borneo, as well as in the 
Malay Peninsula; while the same narratives are told of the 
tarsier ape In many instances In the rest of the Island region 
and of the hare In Cambodia and Annam. The following stories, 
on the other hand, seem to be recounted almost wholly of 
the ape and are confined within a somewhat narrower geo- 
graphical area. 

There was once an ape who was the friend of a heron and 


who said, "Friend, let us louse each other, and let me be 
loused first." The heron, replying, "Yes, you first, then I," 
picked oflF the ape's lice, and when this was done, said, "Now, 
do me also." While he was being loused by the ape, he said, 
"Ow! you are hurting me," but the ape answered, "No, I 
am only pulling off the lice." In reality he was tearing out 
the heron's feathers; and after he had plucked every one, 
he said, "I am quite finished; fly away," whereupon the heron 
started to fly, only to find all his feathers gone, while the 
ape went off, leaving the heron very angry.^^ Shortly after- 
ward the ape met another heron, who, determining to punish 
him for his deed, said that there were very fine berries to 
be had in a place of which he knew across the sea, and Invited 
the ape to go with him to get some. Taking a great leaf, he 
made a canoe of It, and the two set out, the ape paddling and 
the heron steering; but when they were well out of sight of 
land, the heron pecked a hole In the bottom of the boat, 
which quickly filled and sank, the bird flying safely away and 
leaving the ape struggling In the sea.^° 

In the versions from the Malay Peninsula, Sangir Islands, 
and Halmahera the ape was just about to drown when a shark 
appeared, and thinking he was to have a good meal, told the 
ape that he was going to eat him; but the latter answered 
that he had no flesh or entrails and that he would afford only 
a sorry meal. The shark, surprised at this statement, asked 
where his flesh and entrails were, and the ape replied that he 
had left them ashore, but that. If the shark would carry him 
to land, he would go and get them. The shark accordingly bore 
the trickster to the shore, where the ape told his rescuer to 
stay while he went to obtain his flesh; and in this way he kept 
the shark until the tide had ebbed so that he was unable to 
get away, and thus died. This episode of the rescue from drown- 
ing, and of the ungrateful killing of the rescuer, shows an inter- 
esting distribution, occurring in Annam ^^ and India,-- as well 
as in Micronesia,-^ Melanesia,-'* and Polynesia. ^^ 

IX — 14 


Equally significant in its dissemination is another tale. 
The ape and the tortoise once determined to plant each a 
banana patch, the ape choosing his place on the shore, where the 
waves would save him the labour of keeping the ground clean, 
while the tortoise planted his inland. As might be expected, 
the ape's bananas all died from the effect of the salt water, 
while the tortoise's trees grew finely. By and by the latter's 
bananas were ripe, but since he could not climb the trees, he 
was forced to wait until the fruit fell to the ground. The ape 
coming by, the tortoise asked him to climb for him and said 
that if he would do so, they could divide the fruit. Nothing 
loath, the ape sprang up into one of the trees, but did not 
throw any of the fruit down; and when the tortoise asked 
him why he did not give him some, the ape replied that he 
wanted first to taste them. He kept on eating the bananas 
and paid no attention when the tortoise begged him to throw 
some down, until finally the latter said, "Well, you eat the 
fruit, and throw me down the skins." Even this the ape re- 
fused to do, saying that the skins were still better than the 
fruit, whereupon, angry at such treatment, the tortoise col- 
lected a quantity of bamboo sticks, which he sharpened and 
set thickly in the ground under the tree. Then he called to 
the ape that when he had finished, he must jump down to the 
ground; but in doing this, he fell on the sharpened randjans 
and was killed. This tale, besides being wide-spread in In- 
donesia,^^ occurs also in Japan ^'^ and in Melanesia. ^^ 

A tale told variously of the ape, the mouse-deer, and other 
animals may be included here, since it also shows a distribu- 
tion outside the Indonesian area. According to this,^^ the ape 
and another animal meeting on the shore, the latter suggested 
that they gather shell-fish, to which the ape agreed. They 
soon found a monster clam, and by the advice of his companion, 
on whom the ape had previously played a trick, the latter was 
induced to put his hand into the shell, which was open, In order 
to pluck out the mollusc; but no sooner did he attempt this, 


than the clam closed Its shell, thus cutting off the ape's hand. 
In a somewhat similar form the story is found farther to the 
east In New Britain.^" 

In some of the tales the tortoise and the ape play parts else- 
where taken by the mouse-deer and the tiger. After outwitting 
and killing the ape by one of the various tricks already recited, 
the tortoise took the body, making tobacco from the hair; 
from the flesh, dried meat; from the bones, which he burned, 
he made lime for betel chewing; and from the blood, sago 
wine. By and by the other apes set out to seek their com- 
panion, and coming to the tortoise, asked if he had seen him 
whom they sought; but without answering their question, the 
tortoise invited them to come to his house and chew betel. 
After first declining his hospitality, they finally accepted it, 
whereupon the tortoise gave them sago wine, which they 
drank, saying, "Ha! but the wine looks red," to which the 
tortoise replied, "Well, there is dye in it." Then he gave them 
betel to chew, and after chewing a while, the apes went off; 
and as they departed, the tortoise said to himself, "Bah! you 
have drunk the blood and chewed the bones of your friend!" 
One of the apes overheard him and said to his companions, 
"Listen! what does he say.''" whereupon the apes called to 
the tortoise, "What are you saying?" to which the tortoise 
replied, "Oh! nothing. I only said that it Is going to rain, so 
you had better run along." Then the tortoise began to laugh, 
saying, "Ha! ha! it makes me laugh heartily," ^^ but when the 
apes heard this, they went after the tortoise and urged each 
other on to crush him to death. The tortoise, however, thought 
of a trick to save himself, so when the apes said to each other, 
"Haven't you crushed him yet.'"' he answered, "My father and 
mother tried to crush me to death and I didn't die. Do you 
think that I shall die if you crush me.'"' Then the apes said, 
"Let us rather burn him to death," but the tortoise replied, 
"My father and mother tried to burn me to death, but I 
didn't die. Do you think you can burn me to death?" Then 


the apes said to each other, "It would be better to throw 
him into the sea," and now the tortoise was happy, but for 
craft he wept, while the apes said, "At last we have won." 
Accordingly they picked up the tortoise and threw him into 
the sea, but there he was in his element and laughed aloud and 
said, "Ha! ha! the water is the very home of my father and 
my mother." ^^ At this the apes were greatly enraged and said, 
"We must find the buffalo to get him to drink up the sea." 
The buffalo agreed, and had drunk up almost all of it when 
the crab, bribed by the tortoise with the promise of a ripe 
coco-nut, bit the buffalo in the belly and made a hole in it. 
Thus all the water flowed out again, and all of the apes were 
drowned but one, who was saved by leaping into the_ branches 
of a tree. She later gave birth to young, and from them all 
the apes of today are descended.^^ 

One day the trickster came across the ape, who said to him, 
"Friend, let us stew each other," to which the trickster an- 
swered, "Good, but let me be the first to be stewed. Go and 
get a bamboo, so that I can creep into it." When the ape came 
back with a piece of bamboo, the trickster crept into it and 
said, "Now, friend, you must go and pluck leaves to pack me 
in tightly. When you come back with the leaves, don't look 
into the bamboo, but stuff the leaves in snugly, while you 
look another way." The ape went for the leaves, but meantime 
the trickster crawled out of the bamboo cooking vessel and 
climbed up a vine which hung near by, while the ape came 
back and stuffed the vessel, which was now empty, with leaves, 
thinking that the other was still within. Then he blew up the 
fire and set the vessel on. It bubbled away, and when he 
thought the meat was done he took the vessel off, leaning it 
against a tree while he went away to get large leaves on which 
to pour out the food; but after he had disappeared, and the 
water in the vessel had had a chance to cool a bit, the trickster 
came down the vine and crept into the bamboo again. When 
the ape returned, he arranged the large leaves, removed those 


stuffed Into the vessel, and shook out the trickster, who said, 
"Look, friend, how brave I am! When the water was boiling 
hardest, I did not feel it at all." The ape, replying, "Well, 
well, I want to be stewed also, so that I may get warm," 
crept Into the vessel, whose mouth the trickster stuffed tightly, 
so that the other could not escape, after which he set the vessel 
on the fire. Soon the water got hot, and the ape, no longer able 
to bear It, cried, "Take me out, friend! take me out! I am 
afraid," only to hear the trickster reply, "Well, it was just so 
when you cooked me." "Good friend, have pity on me!" said 
the other, "take me out!" but the trickster answered, "Well, 
I did not complain when you cooked me." So he showed no 
pity, but when he thought the other was thoroughly cooked, 
he turned out the contents of the vessel and ate him all up.^^ 

Not long after this, the ape, who In this instance was the 
trickster, chanced upon some people in a village who were 
watching a corpse; and when the chief told them to go and 
prepare a coffin, the ape said, "I will go with you and help 
hollow It out." The chief replying, "Very well," the ape went 
with the others to cut down the tree and make the coffin. 
After it was finished, the people said that each one ought to 
get in and try It, whereupon the ape said, "I want to get In, 
too. Everyone ought to take his turn," but when he was Inside 
the coffin, his companions suddenly put the cover on, because he 
was such a rogue and had tricked so many others. The ape 
called, "Let me out, let me out!" but they paid no attention, 
for they had decided that he must die. So the ape perished, 
and the people took the coffin and burned it with all its 
contents. ^^ 

In several of the tales the trickster plays the part of a judge, 
or of one who calls on another to decide a difficult case. Ac- 
cording to one of these storles,^^ a crocodile once was asleep 
on the bank of a stream when a great tree, uprooted by the 
wind, fell upon him and pinned him down so that he could 
not move. The trickster came by, and the crocodile begged 


him to aid him in getting free; but the former, saying that 
he could not do anything by himself, went off and came 
back with a buffalo, who was able to bite through the roots, 
whereupon the river carried the tree away. The crocodile's 
appetite, however, got the better of his gratitude, and he 
begged that, to complete their good deed, they should drag 
him Into the water. This the buffalo did, but the crocodile 
little by little Induced his helper to push him into deeper and 
deeper water, thinking thus to get the buffalo in a position 
where resistance would be difficult and where he could the 
more easily catch him and devour him. Feeling that his suc- 
cess was sure, the crocodile told the buffalo what he pro- 
posed to do, but the latter was loud in his protests, saying that 
to eat him was a poor way to reward his aid; and he accordingly 
begged that the case be submitted to a judge, who should de- 
cide the rights' of the matter. The first thing to come along to 
which he could make appeal was an old leaf-plate which floated 
down the stream; but the plate, on having the case stated, 
replied that he, too, had been treated ungratefully, since he 
had been thrown away, although he was still good for some- 
thing; and so, absorbed In his own wrongs, he drifted on down 
the river. The same thing happened with a rice-mortar and 
an old mat, so that the buffalo stood In great danger of death. 
The trickster, however (in this case the mouse-deer), quite 
unwilling to let his friend perish, ran off to get a deer and to 
secure his help. When the latter came back with him, he was 
appealed to as a judge; but saying that he could not decide the 
case unless the circumstances were made quite clear to him, 
he demanded that the whole affair be repeated for his en- 
lightenment. Accordingly, he made the crocodile take up his 
former position on shore with the buffalo coming to his aid; 
after which he said that he himself would prefer to have the 
whole scene enacted once more, but that if the buffalo did 
not choose to do so, then never mind. Thus the buffalo was 
able to escape, and the crocodile went away angry. 


"■■ II I wrii 


One day the boar and the antelope met, and the former 
said, "Friend, I dreamed last night that you would be eaten 
by me," to which the antelope replied, "How can that be, for 
we are friends," only to hear the boar answer, "What I have 
dreamed must come to pass." When the antelope heard this, 
he said, "If that is so, let us go and put the case to our ruler," 
but neither of them knew that the ape had overheard. The 
antelope and the boar came to the king, who, after he had 
listened to the case, decided that the antelope must really 
be eaten, because the boar had dreamed it. When the ape 
heard this, he had pity for the antelope, so he dropped 
down suddenly from the tree-top before them all, startling 
the king, who said, "What are you doing here.^" The ape 
answered, "Why, I dreamed that I had married the daughter 
of the king, and I have come for her." The king replied, 
"But what you say is impossible," to which the ape retorted, 
"No, it is very possible." The king hearing this, and seeing 
the point, said to his servants, "The decision in the case of 
the antelope and the boar cannot be carried out." ^^ 

Related to the class of trickster tales proper are some of the 
stories which are told of another hero, who in many respects 
resembles the Till Eulenspiegel of European folk-lore, as the 
trickster does Renard the Fox. As examples of these tales 
we may take the following. One day the king sent a servant 
to pick flowers on the land of the hero, in whose house he saw 
three such beautiful women that he forgot about his errand 
and returned to the ruler with empty hands, saying that he 
had beheld three women who were so enchantingly lovely that 
they put the king's wives to shame. The king desired, there- 
fore, to have them for himself, and planning to get rid of the 
hero, he summoned him, saying, when he came, "Don't be 
disturbed because I have sent for you. I only want you to 
go for me to the sky to see how my ancestors are getting along; 
and I shall, therefore, burn you up, so that you can ascend 
thither." Full of sorrow, the hero went back to his wife and 


her lovely sisters and told them what the king had commanded; 
but his wife replied, "Don't be distressed; I shall conceal you 
in the sleeping-room, and for two days you must not come 
out." The three sisters next hastened to pound up a great 
quantity of rice, from which they made an image of a man that 
exactly resembled the hero, and then they wept and wailed 
and let their tears fall upon the image and it came to life. 
They dressed the impersonator in the hero's clothes, instruct- 
ing him to say that he would return from his journey in three 
days; and so the false hero went to the king and said that he 
was ready to start on the journey to the sky. "How long will 
you be gone.?" asked the king, and the image replied, "I shall 
be back in three days." Then the king's servants, wrapping 
the impostor in palm fibres, set him afire, and as he was made 
of rice-flour, he was burned up entirely and left no trace, 
whence they said, "He has gone on his journey." Meanwhile, 
the real hero remained in his sleeping-room, and the three 
sisters cooked a great quantity of delectable viands. After 
two days they had finished, and dressing the hero sumptu- 
ously, and putting upon him golden rings, bracelets, and orna- 
ments, they gave him the food to take to the king. When he 
arrived, he presented this, saying that the king's ancestors in 
the upper world sent him many greetings and this food as 
token of their affection; and that they begged that he himself 
would come to visit them. The king was much surprised to 
find the hero safe and sound, and said, "Have you already re- 
turned.'' You said that you would stay away three days, but 
only two have passed." "Yes," the hero answered, "I did not 
think the sky was as near as it is. If all this food had not had 
to be prepared, I would have been here much sooner." "Isn't 
it so far then.?" asked the king. "Oh, no," said the hero, "it 
is only a little distance." "Where did you get all these golden 
ornaments.?" queried the king. "Oh, your ancestors gave them 
to me, and you also can have some if you go." The king said, 
"Shall I let myself be burned in order to go thither?" "Cer- 


tainly," the other replied, "In no other way can you obtain 
such fine things." "Very well," said the king, "set me afire," 
but his companions cried, "Me too, me too," for all were anxious 
to go to the sky. "Well, wait a bit," said the hero, "until I 
gather enough palm fibres for you all." So he went to the 
forest and collected a great quantity, and then, wrapping the 
king and his friends in It, he set It afire. When It was com- 
pletely burned out, there their bodies lay, all shrunken and 
charred; whereupon the hero called to the people, who had 
hated their ruler because of his oppression of them, "Take 
everything you find In the king's house and apportion it 
amongst yourselves, for all that he possessed he had taken from 
you." So the people divided the king's treasure, and the hero 
and his wife and her sisters lived happily ever after.^^ 

As another example of these tales we may take the story of 
Taba. He was anxious to marry the king's daughter, but for a 
long time could think of no way In which he could compass 
his wish. At last, however, he hit upon a plan. Finding that 
not far from the house was a great zvaringin-tree, the path to 
which was very roundabout and much obstructed, he secretly 
made a short cut to the tree, after which he went Into the 
house and pretended that he was very ill, sitting by the ashes 
on the hearth and groaning that he was surely about to die. 
Asked what could be done to help him, he said, "Oh, if you 
will only go for me to the great waringln-tree which grows by 
the road. A spirit whom I worship lives in that tree, and if 
you would ask it, it would tell you what I could do in order to 
get well." The people pitied Taba and went down the road to 
the tree; but he, meanwhile, hurried thither by his shorter 
path, climbed up into the tree, and secreted himself; so that 
when the people arrived and asked whether Taba would regain 
his health, he called out, "He must be married to the king's 
daughter. Only thus will he recover." Before the people could 
reach the house by the regular road, Taba got there, and when 
they arrived he was sitting groaning by the fire. The people, 


telling him what the oracle had said, agreed to aid him in 
carrying out the command of the supposed spirit; and thus 
Taba became the son-in-law of the king and soon was well 

Two other animal stories or fables may be given in connexion 
with the series already presented, since, although even more 
clearly of extra-Indonesian origin, their distribution serves to 
confirm the evidence of foreign influence in all of this type of 
tale. One day the cat reproached the deer for having stepped 
on the ear of one of her kittens, but the deer excused himself, 
saying that he was startled by a bird and ran, and that the 
blame thus rested with the bird, who, by flying up suddenly, 
was the real cause of the accident. The cat then went to the 
bird and accused it, but the latter shifted the fault on another 
bird, who had alarmed it by appearing with white feathers about 
its neck. In its turn this bird put the blame on another, which 
had appeared with its whole body yellow, and this bird said 
that it had done so because still another had a yellow beak. 
The latter, on being approached by the cat, alleged that this 
was owing to the fact that the crab had jointed claws, while the 
crab transferred the blame to the mouse, who, he said, had 
stolen his hole. When the cat, at last, charged the mouse with 
the ultimate responsibility, the latter could not think of any 
excuse to give on the spur of the moment, and so, losing pa- 
tience, the cat jumped upon it and ate it up. Ever since that 
time cats and mice have been at war.^° 

The other tale runs as follows. One day an egg, a snake, a 
centipede, an ant, and a piece of dung set out on a head-hunt- 
ing expedition, and on arriving at the house which they planned 
to attack, the egg stationed the party as follows: the centi- 
pede under the floor, the ant in the water-vessel, the dung at 
the top of a ladder leaning against a door, and the snake be- 
side the door, while the egg itself took its place in the cooking- 
pot. During the night the centipede came out of its hiding- 
place and bit the occupant of the house, who, as a result, went 


to light a fire; but there the egg jumped from the cooking-pot 
into his face, and bhnded him. The man at once hurried to 
the water-vessel to wash his face, whereupon the ant stung 
him, and when he ran down the ladder, he slipped on the dung 
and fell to the bottom, where the snake bit him, and he 


The group of trickster tales and fables of which a series has 
now been given are of especial importance, not only in the 
study of Indonesian mythology, but also in relation to the 
whole question of the origin and growth of Melanesian and 
Oceanic culture. Although widely spread in Indonesia, their 
distribution brings out the following facts. The tales, as a 
whole, fall into two rather clearly marked groups: (a) those 
in which the mouse-deer figures as the hero, and (b) those in 
which the ape or tortoise is the leading figure. The former group 
is most fully represented in the south and west, i. e. in Java, 
Borneo, and Sumatra, and is scarcely known in the Philippines; 
the latter is best developed in the east and north — in Halma- 
hera, Celebes, and the Sangir Islands — and is well represented 
in the Philippines, decreasing in importance from south to north. 
So far as any existing material goes, neither group of tales is 
known to those tribes which have had very little or no influence 
from Indian culture. The first of these two groups is, within 
its region of main development, most fully exemplified among 
the Javanese, who, of all the peoples of the Indonesian area 
had the earliest and closest contact with Indian culture; it is 
next best represented in those portions of Borneo, Sumatra, and 
the Moluccas which were colonized from, or more or less under 
the control of, the Modjopahit and other Hindu-Javanese 
kingdoms which grew up in Java during the first centuries of 
the Christian era. Outside of Indonesia, this group of tales is 
strongly represented in south-eastern Asia, I. e. among the 
Cham, and in Cambodia and Annam, where Indian influence 
was strongly established even earlier than in Java. It is de- 
veloped among the Malays of the Malay Peninsula, and even 


among the Shan of Upper Burma (who have in the one case 
early, and in the other case later, come in contact with Hindu, 
i. e. Buddhist, culture) a considerable number of the tales are 
found in typical form. Lastly, in India itself at least half of 
the series is known. On the other hand, none of the stories of 
this group has, the writer believes, thus far been reported from 
Melanesia or farther to the east. 

Turning to the second group (the tales which centre about 
the ape or tortoise), it appears that in the eastern and northern 
portions of Indonesia, where it is best developed, it is strong- 
est in Halmahera, northern Celebes, and the Sangir Islands, 
and is well represented not only in Mindanao and among the 
Visayan tribes of the Philippines, but also in Luzon. Outside 
of the Indonesian area its distribution is sharply contrasted 
with the first group. Instead of being, as that is, strongly repre- 
sented in India and south-eastern Asia and unknown in Mela- 
nesia, it is comparatively rare on the Asiatic continent, but is 
rather widely distributed in Alelanesia, while at least one of its 
themes has been reported from eastern Polynesia. One of the 
tales of each group is known from Japan. 

From these facts it would seem that we might safely draw 
the following conclusions. The first group consists of two sets 
of tales, the first comprising those which are manifestly of 
actual Indian origin, occurring there in the Buddhist Jatakas 
and other early sources, and obviously introduced into In- 
donesia by the Hindu immigrants in the first centuries of our 
era; and the second including those of which examples are not 
known from India itself. The latter class the author believes 
to be of local Indonesian growth, though perhaps copied after 
Indian models. Such local imitation of foreign tales is a phe- 
nomenon well known in other parts of the world, and appears 
to be the most reasonable explanation of the conditions which 
meet us here. The second group, on the other hand, seems 
wholly or almost wholly of local origin, the rare instances of 
the occurrence of any portion of it on the Asiatic mainland 


being plausibly explained as due to the well-known backwash 
of Malayan peoples from the Archipelago at an early, though 
as yet uncertain, period. Its apparent absence from western 
Indonesia is, however, rather difficult to explain. It is possible 
that further data may make it clear that this group of tales is 
more purely Indonesian than Malayan, i. e. that it belongs to 
that earlier Indonesian stratum of population which followed 
the Negrito and preceded the Malay. 

The extension of this second type into Melanesia and even 
to Polynesia, together with the absence of the first group from 
this easterly region, would seem to have still further significance, 
for it is a fair question whether this does not prove that the 
emigration of the Polynesian ancestors from the Archipelago 
must have taken place prior to the period of Indian contact. 
It will be noted, also, that one tale of each group has been re- 
ported from Japan. On the basis of the hypothesis which we 
have advanced, one of these would then be traceable to In- 
dian (i. e. Buddhist) sources, the other to the supposed still 
earlier influences which passed northward from the Philippines 
through Formosa and the Riukiu Islands to Kiushiu and 
southern Nippon. ■ 


IN Melanesia, and perhaps also in New Zealand, one of the 
themes found to be characteristically developed was that of 
the swan-maiden, i. e. the descent of a heavenly maiden to earth 
and her capture and marriage by an earthly hero; and since 
tales embodying this motif are numerous in Indonesia, a con- 
sideration of the remainder of the mythology of this region may 
well begin with examples of this type. The Toradja in central 
Celebes say that once a woman gave birth to seven crabs which, 
in terror and disgust, she threw into the river. The crabs gained 
the bank, however, and there fixed seven places for bathing 
and built a house; but when they entered the water, they put 
off their crab disguise and assumed their human form. One 
day, when they were disporting themselves in the river and 
had left their crab garments on the shore, seven men crept 
up and stole their clothing, thus making it impossible for the 
maidens to resume their animal guise; and each of the men then 
took one of the maidens as his wife.^ 

Another tale from the same tribe shows a more typical form 
of the story. According to this, seven parakeets one day flew 
down to bathe, doffing their bird garments and laying them on 
a bench while they made merry in the water as beautiful maid- 
ens. Magoenggoelota crept up and stole the garment of the 
youngest, who, realizing that something was wrong, called to 
her sisters, "Whew! I smell human flesh," at which the others 
were vexed and said, "Oh, how could any mortal come here.'' 
You are joking." Soon they all went out to resume their gar- 
ments, but though the older sisters found theirs and donned 


them, the youngest was unable to perceive her own until she 
saw a man who held it in his hand. Her sisters had disappeared, 
for they had flown up to the sky; and when they arrived, they 
said to their mother, "Kapapitoe has gone away, for someone 
took her dress," at which their mother shed tears and berated 
them for abandoning their sister, so that they did not dare to 
go bathing any more. Meanwhile the younger sister wept and 
begged Magoenggoelota to give her back her feather garment, 
but he refused, saying, "Come, stop your crying. I shall do 
you no harm, but shall take you to my house as my wife," to 
which she answered, "Very well, if you will, take me with you; 
but first give me back my clothes." When she had promised 
not to fly away, he returned her feather garment, but when 
she put it on, he held her fast until she said, "You don't need 
to hold me; I will not go away, for I do not know the road. 
If you are fond of me, put me in your betel-box, " and accord- 
ingly he took out his betel-box, put her in it, and took her to 
his home.^ 

A version from Halmahera ^ shows a further development. 
A man once had seven sons. Attacked by a mysterious ill- 
ness, he gradually turned to stone, and the sons, wishing to 
seek for medicine with which to cure him, determined at once 
to set out in search of it. The youngest son, however, being 
very ugly and covered with sores, was left behind; but he, 
resolving to do what he could, started ofi^ alone in another di- 
rection and came to the house of an old woman, who took 
pity on him, cured his sores, clothed him, and listened to the 
story of his quest. When she had heard his tale, she told him 
to hide among the bushes near a pool of water which was close 
by, and he had not been there long before five maidens came 
to bathe. They took off" their garments and laid them on the 
bushes under which he was concealed; and while they were 
bathing, he stole the clothes of the youngest. The others, 
when they came out, put on their winged garments and flew 
away, but the youngest, unable to escape, begged in vain that 


he would return to her her magic robes, only to have him re- 
fuse and take her home as his wife. When he had told her of 
his quest and had asked her if she could help him, she imme- 
diately called for her flying-palace, and in it they both ascended 
to the sky. She brought her husband to the presence of the 
lord of heaven, who gave him, after hearing his story, the 
medicine for which he had been seeking, and with this the son 
now returned to his father, thanks to the aid of his wife's 
magic flying-house. There he cured his parent; but his six 
brothers returning empty-handed, and being angry because 
the youngest had succeeded where they had failed, were later 
turned into dogs, while the hero and his wife lived happily 
ever after. 

One more version of this theme may be given, in this in- 
stance from Java.^ A poor widow found in the forest an infant 
that had been abandoned and left at the foot of a tree, and in 
pity she took the child home with her, bringing it up as her 
own. The boy developed into a keen hunter and used to wander 
in the forest with his blowgun in search of birds, until one day 
he saw a very lovely one at which he shot and shot in vain. 
He followed it far into the jungle, and at last, losing sight of it 
entirely, he found himself on the margin of a beautiful pool, 
to which, as he looked, he saw a number of heavenly maidens 
flying down to bathe. From his hiding-place he beheld them 
lay aside their wings and enter the water, when he quietly 
reached out, and possessing himself of one pair, made a slight 
noise. At this alarm the bathers took fright, and hastening 
out of the water, seized their garments and flew away, — one, 
however, being unable to escape because the youth had pos- 
session of her wings. She begged him to return them, but he 
refused, saying that he would give her other garments if she 
would agree to be his wife; and being forced to assent to this 
proposal, she accompanied him to his home. One day she went 
to the river to wash clothes and left her husband to mind the 
kettle in which the rice was cooking, warning him on no 


account to take off the cover of the pot or to look within. 
After she had gone, he could not overcome his curiosity to 
see what it was she did not wish him to observe, his inquisitive- 
ness being especially keen since she had always been able to 
provide abundant meals although he had given her only one 
measure of rice. Accordingly he raised the lid, but saw noth- 
ing in the pot except boiling water and a single grain of rice; 
and so, replacing the cover, he awaited his wife's return. 
When she came, she hurried to the pot and looked in, only to 
find the single grain of rice, since the magic power by which 
she had hitherto been able to produce food miraculously ^ had 
been destroyed by her husband's curiosity. This, of course, 
made her angry, because henceforth she was obliged to labour 
and to prepare rice for every meal in the usual manner. 
The store of rice in the bin now rapidly decreased, and one 
day, when she came to the bottom, she found her magic 
garment which her husband had hidden there. On his return 
she informed him that she must now go back to the sky, 
though she said that she would leave with him their child, 
which was still but young, and told him that whenever the 
baby cried, he was to climb up, place it on the roof, and burn 
a stalk of rice below, and that then she would descend to give 
her daughter food. When she had said this, she took a stalk 
of rice, lit it, and rose up to the sky in its smoke. The sorrow- 
ing husband followed her commands, and the child grew up to 
be as beautiful as her mother. 

In these and other versions ^ we may trace many variations 
of the theme, from the simple forms like the first, which seem 
to rest on the wide-spread belief which prevails throughout 
the region, of human beings in animal guise who can put off 
their animal shape and resume that of man; to those like the 
latter, where it assumes the type common in Indian and 
European mythology. It would seem that we have here, as 
in the case of the trickster tales, one group whose direct Indian 

origin Is unmistakable and which has spread widely wherever 
IX— 15 


this early influence has come; and another which is native in 
all its essentials, although this simple and apparently aboriginal 
type may, after all, be a local imitation of a foreign theme. 
The extension of the tale in its more typically Indian form 
to Melanesia ^ and even to western Polynesia (New Zealand) ^ 
is of great interest, and raises questions which may better be 
discussed in a consideration of the Indonesian tales as a whole. 

Many of the stories in Indonesia are based upon the theme 
of the animal disguise, or "Beauty and the Beast," the follow- 
ing being typical of this class, ^ Once there was an old woman 
who lived alone in the jungle and had a lizard which she 
brought up as her child. When he was full grown, he said to 
her, "Grandmother, go to the house of Lise, where there are 
seven sisters; and ask for the eldest of these for me as a wife." 
The old woman did as the lizard requested, and taking the 
bridal gifts with her, went off; but when she came near the 
house, Lise saw her and said, "Look, there comes Lizard's 
grandmother with a bridal present. Who would want to marry 
a lizard! Not I." 

The old woman arrived at the foot of the ladder, ascended it, 
and sat down in Lise's house, whereupon the eldest sister gave 
her betel, and when her mouth was red from chewing it, asked, 
"What have you come for, Grandmother? Why do you come 
to us.^" "Well, Granddaughter, I have come for this: to pre- 
sent a bridal gift; perhaps it will be accepted, perhaps not. 
That Is what I have come to see." As soon as she had spoken, 
the eldest indicated her refusal by getting up and giving the 
old woman a blow that knocked her across to the door, fol- 
lowing this with another that rolled her down the ladder. The 
old woman picked herself up and went home; and when she 
had reached her house, the lizard inquired, "How did your 
visit succeed.^" She replied, "0! alas! I was afraid and almost 
killed. The gift was not accepted, the eldest would not accept 
it; It seems she has no use for you because you are only a 
lizard." "Do not be disturbed," said he, "go tomorrow and 


ask for the second sister," and the old woman did not refuse, 
but went the following morning, only to be denied as before. 
Each day she went again to another of the sisters until the 
turn of the youngest came. This time the girl did not listen 
to what LIse said and did not strike the old woman or drive 
her away, but agreed to become Lizard's wife, at which the 
old woman was delighted and said that after seven nights 
she and her son would come. When this time had passed, 
the grandmother arrived, carrying the lizard In a basket. 
Kapapltoe (the youngest sister) laid down a mat for the old 
woman to sit on while she spread out the wedding gifts, 
whereupon the young bride gave her food, and after she had 
eaten and gone home, the lizard remained as Kapapltoe's 
husband. The other sisters took pains to show their disgust. 
When they returned home at night, they would wipe the 
mud off their feet on Lizard's back and would say, "Pitoe 
can't prepare any garden; she must stay and take care of her 
lizard," but Kapapitoe would say, "Keep quiet. I shall take 
him down to the river and wash off the mud." After a while 
the older sisters got ready to make a clearing for a garden, 
and one day, when they had gone to work, the lizard said to 
his wife, "We have too much to bear. Your sisters tease us 
too much. Come, let us go and make a garden. Carry me in a 
basket on your back, wife, and gather also seven empty coco- 
nut-shells." His wife agreed, put her husband in a basket, and 
after collecting the seven shells, went to the place which they 
were to make ready for their garden. Then the lizard said, 
"Put me down on the ground, wife, so that I can run about," 
and thus he scurried around, lashing the grass and trees with 
his tail and covering a whole mountain-side In the course of 
the day; with one blow he felled a tree, cut it up by means of 
the sharp points on his skin, set the pieces afire, and burned 
the whole area, making the clearing smooth and good. Then 
he said to Kapapltoe, "Make a little seat for me, so that I 
can go and sit on it," and when this was done, he ordered the 


seven coconut-shells to build a house for him, after which he 
was carried home by his wife. The older sisters returning at 
evening, saw the new clearing and wondered at it, perceiving 
that it was ready for planting. When they got home they 
said to their sister, "You can't go thus to the planting feast 
of Ta Datoe. Your husband is only a lizard," and again they 
wiped their feet on him. 

The next day Lizard and his wife went once more to their 
clearing and saw that the house had already been built for 
them by the coco-nut-shells, which had turned into slaves; 
whereupon the lizard said, "Good, tomorrow evening we will 
hold the preliminary planting festival, and the next day a 
planting feast." Ordering his seven slaves to prepare much 
food for the occasion, he said to his wife, "Let us go to the 
river and get ready," but on arriving at the stream, they 
bathed far apart, and the lizard, taking off his animal disguise, 
became a very handsome man dressed in magnificent gar- 
ments. When he came for his wife, she at first did not recog- 
nize him, but at last was convinced; and after she had been 
given costly new clothes and ornaments, they returned toward 
Lise's house. As they came back, the preliminary planting 
festival had begun, and many people were gathered, including 
Kapapitoe's elder sisters, Lise, and the old woman. The six 
sisters said, "Tell us, Grandmother, who is that coming.^ She 
looks so handsome, and her sarong rustles as if rain were fall- 
ing. The hem of her sarong goes up and down every moment 
as it touches her ankles." The old woman replied, "That is 
your youngest sister, and there comes her husband also," 
whereupon, overcome with jealousy, the six sisters ran to meet 
their handsome brother-in-law and vied with each other for 
the privilege of carrying his betel-sack, saying, "I want to 
hold the sirih-sack of my brother-in-law." He, however, went 
and sat down, and the six went to sit beside him to take him 
away from their youngest sister, but the lizard would have 
none of them. 


Next day was the planting, and his sisters-in-law would 
not let the lizard go in company with his wife, but took pos- 
session of him and made him angry. Accordingly, when Lise 
and the sisters were asleep, the lizard got up, waked Kapapitoe, 
and taking a stone, laid four pieces of bark upon it and re- 
peated a charm, "If there is power in the wish of the six sis- 
ters who wipe their feet on me, then I shall, when I open my 
eyes, be sitting on the ground just as I am now. But if my 
wish has power, when I open my eyes, I shall be sitting in 
my house and looking down on all other houses." ^° When 
he opened his eyes, he was seated in his house high up on the 
mountain, for the stone had grown into a great rock, and his 
house was on top of it. His sisters-in-law tried to climb the 
cliff, but in vain, and so had to give up, while he and his wife, 
Kapapitoe, lived happily ever after.^^ 

A tale wide-spread in the Archipelago, and interesting be- 
cause of its further extension elsewhere, introduces the theme 
of the descent to the underworld, though not as In the Polyne- 
sian examples of the Orpheus type. As told by the Galela,^^ 
it runs as follows. Once upon a time there was a man who was 
accustomed to keep watch In his garden to prevent Its being 
plundered by wild pigs. One night a pig appeared at which 
the man threw his spear; but the creature was only wounded 
and ran away with the missile sticking in Its back. Next day 
the man followed the trail of the stricken animal and after a 
long chase found that the tracks led to a deep cleft In the rocks, 
which conducted him down Into the earth, so that at last he 
came out in the middle of a town. The tracks led directly 
to one of the houses, which the man entered, and looking 
around, he saw his spear leaning by the door. From a neigh- 
bouring room he heard sounds of crying, and shortly a man 
appeared, who asked him who he was and what he wanted. 
When he replied that he had come to find his spear, which 
had been carried off in the body of a pig the night before, 
the owner of the house said, "No, you speared my child, and 


her you must cure. When she is well again, you shall marry 
her." While talking, the man who was in search of his spear 
happened to look up and saw hanging from the rafters a 
bunch of pigs' skins, which were the disguises that the people 
of this underworld assumed when they visited the upper earth 
to plunder the gardens of men. He finally agreed to try his 
skill in curing the woman whom he had thus unwittingly 
wounded, and in a short time she had wholly recovered. Some 
time after he had married her, she said to him, "Come now, 
you act just as if you had forgotten all about your wife and 
children," to which he answered, "No, I think of them often; 
but how shall I find them.''" A plan was proposed which he 
accepted, and in accordance with which they were both to 
put on the pig disguises and visit the upper world. No 
sooner said than done, and for three months he lived in the 
underworld, visiting the gardens of his own town in the upper 
world in the guise of a pig. Then one day, when he and others 
had come to the upper earth, they said to him, "Now, shut your 
eyes, and don't open them until we give the word. After this, 
when you make a garden plot and the pigs come to break in 
and make trouble, do not shoot at them, but go and call out, 
saying that they must not come to this field but go to some 
others; and then they will surely go away." He did as they 
commanded and closed his eyes, but when he opened them, 
he was back once more in human form in his own garden and 
his spirit wife of the underworld he never saw again. 

A still more characteristic version is told in Celebes. ^^ Seven 
brothers were hunting and drying the meat of the pigs which 
they had killed, but, as in one of the trickster tales, ^^ a man 
appeared who stole the food and made away with it, the brother 
who had been left on guard being unable to stop him. When 
the turn of the youngest came, he succeeded in spearing the 
robber in the back, but the culprit ran off and disappeared 
with the spear still sticking in him. Now the spear belonged 
to the boys' grandfather, who, angry at its loss, demanded 


that they find it and return it.^^ The brothers, therefore, 
went to a great hole in the earth, from which, they had dis- 
covered, the robber usually emerged. Taking a long vine, the 
others lowered the eldest, but he, soon terrified at the dark- 
ness, demanded to be hauled up again; and thus it went with 
all six older brothers, only the youngest being brave enough 
to reach the bottom. Once arrived, he found himself in the 
underworld and there soon discovered a town. Asking if he 
might come in, he was refused admittance on the ground 
that the chief was suffering from a great spear with which he 
had been wounded, and which was still embedded in his back. 
The young hero thereupon declared that he could cure the 
sufferer and was accordingly admitted to the chief's house; 
but when he was alone with the patient, he killed him, pulled 
out the spear, and hastened to regain the place where he had 
been let down. On the way he met seven beautiful maidens 
who wished to accompany him to the upper world, and 
so all were pulled up together by the brothers stationed 
above, and each of them then took one of the girls for 
his wife.^^ The occurrence of this tale in Japan, ^'^ and on 
the north-west coast of America ^^ is a feature of considerable 

A story of quite wide distribution is that of the half-child. 
According to the Loda version,^^ the first man and woman 
lived by a river, on whose banks they had a garden. A boy 
was born to them, but later, when a second child was about to 
be brought into the world, a great rain and flood came and 
washed away half of the garden, whereupon the woman cursed 
the rain, the result of her malediction being that when the 
child was born, it was only half a human being and had but 
one eye, one arm, and one leg. When Half-Child had grown 
up, he said to his mother, "Alas, what shall I do, so that I 
may be like my brother, who has two arms and two legs.^" 
Determining to go to the great deity in the upper world and 
beg him to make him whole, he climbed up and laid his request 


before the god, who, after some discussion, agreed to help 
him, telling him to bathe in a pool which he showed him, and 
at the same time cautioning him not to go into the water if he 
saw any one else bathing. Half-Child went to the pool, found 
no one else there, and after bathing came out restored to his 
proper shape and made very handsome. 

Returning to his home, he found his brother eating his dinner, 
and the latter said to him, "Well, brother, you look very beau- 
tiful!" "Yes," said Half-Child, "the deity granted me to 
be even as you are." Then his elder brother asked, "Is the 
god far away.''" and the other replied, "No, he is not far, for 
I was able to reach him easily." The elder brother at once 
went up to see the divinity, and when asked why he had 
come, he said that he wished to be made as handsome as his 
younger brother. The deity replied, "No, you are now just 
as you ought to be, and must remain so"; but since the other 
would not be satisfied, at length the god said, "Well, go to that 
pool there and bathe; but you must not do so unless you see a 
dog (i. e. the image or reflection of a dog) in it. In which case 
you must bathe with a piece of white cloth tied round your 
neck." So the elder brother went to the pool, tied a piece of 
cloth around his neck, and bathed, and behold! he was turned 
into a dog with a white mark around his throat; whereupon 
he returned to this world and found his brother, Half-Child, 
at dinner. "Alas !" said the younger brother, " I told you not to 
go, but you would do so, and now see what has become of 
you!" and he added, "Here, my brother, you must always 
remain under my table and eat what falls from it." 2° 

Tales which involve themes of the "grateful animals" and 
the "impossible tasks" are quite common; and as an example 
of one type of these we may take a Dusun story from British 
North Borneo.^^ Serungal was an ugly man, but he wished very 
much to marry a rajah's daughter. On his way to the village 
of the rajah he saw some men killing an ant, but when he 
remonstrated with them, they ran away and left the insect, 


which crawled off in safety. A Httle farther on Serungal heard 
some people shouting and found that they were trying to kill 
a lire-fly, whose life he saved in the same manner as he had 
that of the ant; and before he reached the rajah's gate he also 
rescued a squirrel. Arrived before the rajah, Serungal made 
known to him that he had come to ask for the hand of one of 
his daughters; but since the rajah did not want him for a son- 
in-law, he said to him, "If you can pick up the rice which is 
in this basket, after it has been scattered over the plain, you 
may have my daughter." Serungal thought that he could not 
succeed in this impossible task, for the rajah allowed him only 
a short time to complete it; but nevertheless he determined to 
try, only to find that achievement was hopeless. He began to 
weep, but soon an ant came to him, and learning the reason of 
his lamentation, said, "Well, stop crying, and I will help you, 
for you helped me when men wished to kill me," and accord- 
ingly the ant called his companions, who quickly sought and 
gathered the grains of rice, so that the basket soon was full 
once more. When Serungal carried the receptacle to the rajah 
and announced that he had accomplished the task, the latter 
said, "Well, you may have my daughter, but first you must 
climb my betel-nut tree and pluck all the nuts." Now this 
tree was so tall that its top was lost in the clouds, and Serungal, 
after several vain attempts, sat at the foot of the tree, weeping. 
To him then came the squirrel whom he had befriended, and in 
gratitude for the aid which Serungal had given him it climbed 
the tree for him and brought down all the nuts. The rajah 
had one more task, however, for Serungal to accomplish, 
telling him that he might have his youngest daughter if he 
could pick her out from among her six other sisters when all 
were shut up in a perfectly dark room. Serungal again was in 
despair when the fire-fly came to him and said, "I will search 
for you and I will settle on the nose of the seventh daughter; 
so wherever you see a light, that will be the place where the 
rajah's youngest daughter is." ^^ Accordingly Serungal went 


into the darkened room, and seeing the fire-fly, carried away 
the woman on whom it had settled; whereupon the rajah 
admitted Serungal's success and thus was obliged to recog- 
nize him as his son-in-law.^ Tales of this type present such 
close analogies to Indian and wide-spread European types 
that it is probable that they are directly or indirectly due to 
Hindu contact. 

Widely disseminated in Indonesia, and also occurring far 
outside its limits, are stories based on a theme involving the 
miraculous providing of food by women of supernatural 
origin. A Bornean version ^^ may serve as an example of this 
type. One day a man named Rakian was out hunting for 
honey, when in the top of a mangis-tvte. he saw a number of 
bees' nests. The bees belonging to one of these were white, 
and as this was a curiosity, he selected this nest, removed it 
carefully, and carried it home. He spent the next day working 
in his garden and did not return to his house until evening; 
but when he entered, he found rice and fish already cooked 
and standing on his food-shelf above the fire. "Who can have 
cooked for me.^" he thought, "for I live here alone. This fish 
is not mine, although the rice is. The rice is cold, and must 
have been cooked some time. Perhaps someone has come and 
cooked for me and then taken away my bees' nest." On going 
to look, however, he found his bees' nest still where he had 
left it; so he sat down and ate, saying, "Well, if someone is 
going to cook for me, so much the better." In the morning he 
went off again to his garden, and when he came back at night, 
there was his food already cooked as before; and this continued 
for some time until one day he resolved to return early to 
see if he could not solve the mystery. Accordingly he set off 
as if to go to his garden and then quietly came back and hid 
himself where he could watch. By and by the door of the 
house creaked, and a beautiful woman came out and went 
to the river to get water; but while she was gone, Rakian 
entered the house and looking at his bees' nest found that 


there were no bees in It. So taking the nest and hiding it, he 
secreted himself in the house; and after a while the woman re- 
turned and went to the place where the nest had been. "Oh," 
said she, weeping, "who has taken my box? It cannot be 
Rakian, for he has gone to his garden. I am afraid he will 
come back and find me." When it was evening, Rakian came 
out as if he had just returned from his garden, but the woman 
sat there silent. "Why are you here.?" said he; "perhaps you 
want to steal my bees.?" but the woman answered, "I don't 
know anything about your bees." Rakian went to look for his 
bees' nest, but of course could not find it, for he had hidden 
it away; whereupon he again accused her of taking his honey, 
while she denied all knowledge of it. "Well, never mind," 
said he; "will you cook for me, for I am hungry.?" She, how- 
ever, replied that she did not wish to cook, for she was vexed; 
and then she taxed Rakian with having taken her box, which, 
she said, contained all her clothes; but he replied that he would 
not give it to her because he was afraid that she would get into 
it again. "I will not get into it," said she. "If you like me, 
you can take me for your wife. My mother wished to give me 
to you in this way, for you have no wife here, and I have no 
husband in my country." Accordingly Rakian gave her the 
bees' nest, and the woman then said, "If you take me as your 
wife, you must never call me a bee-woman, for if you do I 
shall be ashamed." Rakian promised, and so they were married; 
and by and by his wife bore him a child. Now one day there 
was a feast at a neighbour's, to which Rakian went as a guest; 
but when the people asked him where his wife had come from, 
as they had never before seen so beautiful a woman, he replied 
evasively. After a while, however, all the men got drunk, and 
then, when they kept asking him where his wife had come 
from, he forgot his promise and said, "The truth is my wife 
was at first a bee." 

When Rakian got home, his wife was silent and would not 
speak to him, but after a while she said, "What did I tell you 


long ago? I think you have been saying things to make me 
ashamed." Her husband denied that he had said anything 
wrong, but she insisted, declaring, "You are lying, for though 
you were far away, I heard what you said," whereupon Rakian 
was silent in his turn. "I shall now go to my home," said she, 
"but the child I will leave with you. In seven days my father 
will pass by here, and I shall go with him." Rakian wept, but 
could not move her, and seven days later he saw a white bee 
flying by, whereupon his wife came out of the house, and 
saying, "There is my father," she turned into a bee once more 
and flew away, while Rakian hurried into the house, seized 
the child, and hastened off in pursuit. For seven days he fol- 
lowed the bees, and then losing sight of them, found himself 
on the banks of a stream where he lay down with the child 
and slept. By and by a woman came from a house near by, 
woke him, and said, "Rakian, why don't you go to your wife's 
house, and sleep there .^ The house is not far off." "When I 
have bathed, you must show me the way," said he, and she 
replied, "Very well"; so they went, and the woman pointed 
his wife's house out to him. "Her room Is right in the middle. 
There are eleven rooms in the house. If you enter, you must 
not be afraid, for the roof-beams are full of bees, but they do 
not attack men." Accordingly Rakian climbed up into the 
house and found it full of bees, but in the middle room there 
were none. The child began to cry, whereupon a voice from 
the middle room asked, "Why do you not come out.'' Have 
you no pity on your child, that is weeping here.'"' Then, after 
a time, Rakian's wife appeared, and the child ran to her, and 
Rakian's heart was glad; but his wife said to him, "What did 
I tell you at first, that you were not to tell whence I came.'' 
If you had not been able to follow me here, certainly there 
would have been distress for you." When she finished speaking, 
all the bees dropped down from the roof-beams to the floor 
and became men; while as for Rakian and his child, they 
stayed in the bees' village and did not go back any more. 


A version from the Philippines ^^ adds several features of 
interest. "'We go to take greens, sister-in-law Dinay, per- 
haps the siksiklat [a sort of vine, whose leaves are used for 
greens] will taste good. I have heard that the siksiklat is 
good,' said Aponibolinayen. They went to get her siksiklat. 
When they arrived at the place of small trees, which they 
thought was the place of the siksiklat^ they looked. Aponiboli- 
nayen was the first who looked. As soon as she began to break 
off the siksiklat which she saw she did not break any more, but 
the siksiklat encircled and carried her up. When they reached 
the sky, the siksiklat placed her below the alosip-tree. She 
sat for a long time. Soon she heard the crowing of the rooster. 
She stood up and went to see the rooster which crowed. She 
saw a spring. She saw it was pretty, because its sands were 
oday and its gravel pagatpat and the top of the betel-nut- 
tree was gold, and the place where the people step was a 
large Chinese plate which was gold. She was surprised, for 
she saw that the house was small. She was afraid and soon 
began to climb the betel-nut-tree, and she hid herself. 

"The man who owned the house, which she saw near the 
well, was Ini-init — the sun. But he was not in the place of 
his house, because he went out and went above to make the 
sun, because that was his work in the daytime. And the next 
day Aponibolinayen saw him, who went out of his house, 
because he went again to make the sun. And Aponibolina- 
yen went after him to his house, because she saw the man, 
who owned the house, who left. When she arrived in the 
house, she quickly cooked, because she was very hungry. 

"When she finished cooking, she took the stick used in 
roasting fish and cooked it, and the fish stick which she cooked 
became cut-up fish, because she used her magic power. When 
she finished to cook the fish, she took out rice from the pot, and 
when she had finished to take out the rice from the pot, she 
took off the meat from the fish. When she finished taking the 
fish from the pot, she ate. When she finished eating, she 


washed. When she finished washing, she kept those things 
which she used to eat, the coconut shell cup and plate, and 
she laid down to sleep. 

"When the afternoon came, Ini-init went home to his house 
after he finished fishing. He saw his house, which appeared 
as if it was burning, not slowly. He went home because it 
appeared as if his house was burning. When he arrived at his 
house, it was not burning, and he was surprised because it 
appeared as if there was a flame at the place of his bed. When 
he was in his house, he saw that which was like the flame of 
the fire, at the place of his bed, was a very pretty lady.^® 

" Soon he cooked, and when he had finished to cook he scaled 
the fish, and when he had finished scaling he cut it into many 
pieces, and he made a noise on the bamboo floor when he cut 
the fish. The woman awoke, who was asleep on his bed. She 
saw that the man who cut the fish was a handsome man, and 
that he dragged his hair. The pot she had used to cook in 
looked like the egg of a rooster, and he was surprised because 
it looked like the egg of a rooster; and the rice which she 
cooked was one grain of broken rice. Because of all this 
Ini-init was surprised, for the pot was very small with which 
she cooked. After Ini-init cooked, the woman vanished and 
she went to the leaves of the betel-nut, where she went to 

"After Ini-init finished cooking the fish, he saw the bed, 
the place where the woman was sleeping, was empty. He was 
looking continually, but he did not find her. When he could 
not find her, he ate alone, and when he finished eating he 
washed, and when he finished washing the dishes he put away, 
and when he had finished putting away he went to the yard 
to get a fresh breath. . . . When it began to be early morning, 
he left his house, he who went up, because it was his business 
to make the sun. And Aponibolinayen went again into the 

"When it became afternoon, Ini-init went to his home, 


and Aponibolinayen had cooked, after which she went out to 
the betel-nut trees. When Ini-init arrived, he was surprised 
because his food was cooked, for there was no person in his 
house. As soon as he saw the cooked rice and the cooked fish 
in the dish, he took the fish and the rice and began to eat. 
When he had finished eating, he went to his yard to take a 
fresh breath and he was troubled in his mind when he thought 
of what had happened. He said, 'Perhaps the woman, which 
I saw, came to cook and has left the house. Sometime I 
shall try to hide and watch, so that I may catch her.' He 
went to sleep, and when it became early morning he went to 
cook his food. When he had finished eating, he went again to 
make the sun, and Aponibolinayen went again to his house. 

"When the sun had nearly sunk, he sent the big star who 
was next to follow him in the sky, and he went home to spy on 
the woman. When he had nearly reached his home, he saw 
the house appeared as if it was burning. He walked softly 
when he went up the ladder. He slammed shut the door. He 
reached truly the woman who was cooking in the house. He 
went quickly and the woman said to him, 'You cut me only 
once, so that I only cure one time, if you are the old enemy.' 
'If I were the old enemy, I should have cut before,' said 
Ini-init, and he sat near her who cooked. He took out the betel- 
nut, and he arranged it so that they began to chew the betel- 
nut, and he said, 'Ala! young lady, we are going to chew, 
because it is bad for us to talk who do not know each other's 
names.' Aponibolinayen answered, 'No, for if the rich man 
who practises magic is able to give to the rich woman who has 
magical power, soon there will be a sign.' Ini-init said, 'No, 
hurry up even though we are related, for you come here if 
we are not related.' 

"He begged her, and he cut the betel-nut, which was to be 
chewed, which was covered with gold, and he gave it to the 
woman who had magical power, and they chewed. When she 
laid down the quid, it looked like the agate bead, which has 


no hole for the thread. And the quid of Inl-Init looked like a 
square bead. 

"'My name is Ini-init, who often goes to travel over the 
world. I always stop in the afternoon. What can I do, it is 
my business,' he said. Aponibolinayen was next to tell her 
name. 'My name is Aponibolinayen, who hves in Kaodanan, 
who am the sister of Awig,' she said, and when they had finished 
telling their names, both their quids looked like the agate 
bead, which is pinoglan, which has no hole. Ini-init said, 'We 
are relatives, and it is good for us to be married. Do not be 
afraid even though you did not come here of your own accord. 
I go to Kaodanan,' he said. Then they married, and the sun 
went to shine on the world, because it was his business, and the 
big star also had business when it became night." ^^ 

In some versions the woman who provides food miraculously 
is a tree-spirit, or comes from a plant or fruit; while in other 
stories she appears from the sea. In its distribution the tale 
extends eastward into Melanesia. ^^ 

The following tale ^^ embodies, among other incidents in 
the Indonesian area, that in which an animal, insect, or inani- 
mate object answers for an escaping fugitive, and so aids his 
flight. Two sisters, whose parents had been killed and eaten 
by a tiger and a garuda bird,^° saved themselves from their 
parents' fate by hiding in a drum; but one day a man went 
out hunting, and his arrow falling on the roof of the house 
where the two were hidden, he found the girls and took the 
older, whose name was Sunrise, as his wife. 

After a time the man said to his sister-in-law, "Bring me a 
piece of bamboo, that I may knock out the partition (at the 
nodes) and make a water-vessel for you to get water in," 
but when he fixed it, he secretly made holes through the bottom 
also. He then gave her the water-vessel, and she went to the 
stream to bring water, but the bamboo would not hold it; and 
after she had tried for a long time, she discovered the holes 
in the bottom. Accordingly she returned to the house, but 


found that Sunrise and her husband had gone, for he had 
pierced the bottom of the water-vessel so that he and his wife 
might have time to run away.^^ Before going oflF, however, 
Sunrise had left two lice behind her and had instructed them 
to answer for her when her sister should return and thus delay 
pursuit, her orders being, "If she calls me from the land-side, 
do you answer from the sea-side; if she calls me from the sea- 
side, do you answer from the land-side; if she asks you the 
way, show it to her." When the deserted sister returned to 
the house, she called to Sunrise and thought she heard an 
answer, but when she went thither, the reply came from the 
opposite direction. Thus deceived by the false calls, she was 
long delayed; but finally she discovered the trick, asked the 
way which Sunrise had taken, and set off in pursuit.^^ 

By and by she came upon an old woman, to whom she 
called, "Oh, granny! Oh, granny! look here!" The old woman 
said to herself, "Well, ever since the world was made, I have 
lived alone, so I won't look," but, nevertheless, she did look, 
and then asked, "Well, Granddaughter, where do you come 
from.''" "Granny, I am seeking my older sister," said the other 
sister, whose name was Kokamomako; and then hearing the 
sound of a drum, she inquired, "Granny, why are they having 
a feast over there.''" The old woman answered, "Just now 
they went by with your sister," and so Kokamomako con- 
tinued on her way. 

When she came to the house, she called out, "Show me the 

hair of my sister in the window," but the people inside held 

up the hair of a cat, whereupon Kokamomako said, "My sister 

is indeed ugly, but that is the hair of a cat. You must show 

me her foot." Then the people took the foot of a cat and thrust 

it out of the window, saying, "If you want us to produce 

your sister, you must pick up a basket of rice that we will 

throw out," whereupon they threw it out and scattered it. 

Then Kokamomako wept, for this was a task which she could 

not accomplish; but a rice-bird came up to her and asked, 
IX — 16 


"What is your trouble, and what do you want, that you are 
picking that up?" She replied, "I have no trouble, and I 
don't want anything, but they have hidden my elder sister." 
Then the rice-bird helped her, and it was not long before the 
rice was all gathered; but still the people would not bring out 
her sister. Sunrise; whereupon Kokamomako said, "If you 
don't produce my sister, I will go home and set fire to my 
house," adding, "when you see blue smoke, that will be the 
furniture; when you see white smoke, that will be money; 
when you see red smoke, that will be I." Then she went away, 
and soon they saw that she had set fire to her house, perceiving 
that the smoke was first blue, then white, and then red. 
Knowing that her sister was now dead, Sunrise went and 
bathed, and when she came back to the house, she took a 
knife and stabbed herself and died. By and by her husband 
went to carry her food, and found her dead, whereupon he 
also took a knife and tried to kill himself, but did not succeed. 

Now there was a slave in the house who went to get water 
at the river, and when she looked in the stream, seeing the 
reflection of Sunrise, she thought it was her own and called 
out, "Oh, sirs, you said that I was ugly, but really I am beauti- 
ful." Proud of her supposed good looks and thinking herself 
too good to be a slave, she threw away her water-vessel and 
broke it; but when she went back to the house, they sent her 
back again for water and once more she saw the reflection of 
Sunrise, for the latter and her younger sister (their ghosts) 
were hidden in the top of a tree that leaned over the stream. 
This, however, the slave did not know, and again she said, 
"Oh, sirs, you said that I was ugly, but I am really beautiful," 
and again she threw away the water-vessel and broke it, doing 
this seven times before she told the people in the house that 
she had seen the reflection of Sunrise.^' 

In the house was another slave who suffered from wounds 
on his legs, and the husband of Sunrise ordered him to dive 
into the stream in order to seize her, but he refused. So all 


set upon him, and he was forced to do as he was bid; but 
though he dove and dove, and broke open his wounds, and 
coloured the stream with his blood, he could not find Sunrise.^^ 
Accordingly he came ashore and said, "I told you just now that 
I could not do it, and now you have forced me to try, and I 
have broken my wounds open again." Thereupon, as they 
sat by the stream, the husband happened to look up, and seeing 
his wife in the top of the tree, he called out, "Let down a rope, 
so that I may climb up." So she lowered a copper wire, say- 
ing, "When you get half way up, don't hold on so tight," 
but when he climbed up and reached the half-way point, she 
cut the wire, and he fell and was dashed to pieces. 

In the Polynesian and Melanesian areas the tales relating 
to cannibals were numerous; and they are also common in 
Indonesia, as several examples will show. Once there was an 
ogress called Bake, and a princess who spent her time weav- 
ing. The brothers of the princess went fishing, and while they 
were gone, she dropped her shuttle, whereupon she began 
to sing a song calling upon them to come and pick it up. Then 
the ground suddenly split asunder, and out of it came Bake 
who wanted to carry the princess away, but when the lat- 
ter said, "I must wait, I must wait for my brothers," Bake 
said to her, "Very well, pound some rice for me." After the 
maiden had pounded a little rice, she rested, for she wished 
to delay until her brothers should come back from fishing; 
but when the ogress could wait no longer, she herself took 
the pestle and finished preparing the rice. The princess set 
water on to boil and cooked the rice, which she ate from a 
tiny vessel using a needle for a spoon, whereas Bake ate from 
a trough with a great stone plate as a spoon. When, in spite 
of all delay, the princess had finished, the ogress refused to wait 
longer, and taking the maiden on her back she carried her off. 

The princess, however, had secretly tied the end of a skein of 
thread about the tip of her finger so that the thread unwound 
itself behind the ogress as she went; ^^ and just as the process 


was completed, the two brothers of the girl returned. They 
called to her, but getting no reply, searched diligently and 
found the thread, whereupon they started off at once in pursuit, 
following the trail thus left for their guidance. They came to 
some people who were making a garden and asked them if 
they had seen any one passing, going inland; and when the 
people replied, "Yes, Inang-i-Bake has just gone by, carrying 
a white pig on her back, and dragging something that con- 
stantly unwound as she went," the two brothers pursued their 
quest. From time to time they met other people, all of whom 
gave the same information, until at last the brothers learned 
that Inang-i-Bake's. home was near by. Now close to the 
house was a deep river over which was a bridge, and as the 
two brothers went toward Bake's house, they saw something 
very white underneath it in a pen. When they got near, they 
perceived that this was their sister; for Bake had taken away 
all her clothes and had cut off her hair, and even shaved off 
her eyebrows. So the brothers threw their head-cloths to the 
princess for a covering, and then climbed into the house, but 
found that Bake was not at home, though her daughter, Gina- 
bai, was there. She asked them why they had come, and when 
they replied that they had heard that she was looking for 
someone to work for her, she answered, "Yes, you are right. 
You can cook dinner for me. Go down and kill the pig that 
you will find beneath the house." Accordingly the brothers 
went below the house to cook the dinner, but first they re- 
leased their sister from the pen, and one of the brothers took 
her away across the river. When he returned, he secretly cut 
through all but one of the supports of the bridge, so that it 
could barely sustain the weight of a man;^^ and then came 
back to help his brother. Again they went up into the house, 
and killing Ginabai, they shore off her hair and hung it out of 
the window of her room; after which they cut up her body 
and cooked and spiced it well, and ordered a louse from her 
head to answer for her when any one should call. 


On Inang-I-Bake's return they set before her the food which 
they had cooked, and It happened that Ginabai's brother 
found one of her fingers in his portion. When he recognized 
it, he cried out, and the bird which was sitting on the roof of 
the house said, "Inang-i-Bake has eaten her child, and is 
angry," whereupon the people that were working in the garden, 
hearing the bird accuse Inang-i-Bake, said to each other, 
"Keep still, what is that that it is saying, 'Inang-i-Bake has 
eaten her child and is angry'?" Then one of them replied, 
"Be still! shut your mouth! why don't you keep quiet and 
listen to the bird who speaks, and who tells what Is forbidden; 
who speaks of what is not allowed?" Then Ginabai's brother 
sent his blind slave to look for his sister, and the slave went 
and called, "Mistress, mistress!" The louse answering In 
place of Ginabal, the slave returned and said, "My mistress 
is there." When, however, the bird had again called out, and 
Ginabai's brother had once more sent his slave, he finally 
went himself and found that his sister was not there, but only 
the louse which had answered for her. So he slew the louse and 
cut It Into small pieces and cried out to the brothers of the 
princess, "Wait a bit, you have killed my sister," but they ran 
away as fast as they could to the other side of the river, and 
when Ginabai's brother followed them across the bridge, it 
broke and he fell into the water and was drowned." 

Another version from the Moluccas ^^ runs as follows. Two 
women once went fishing, and coming to a river, one said to 
the other, "There are many fish In that pool; reach down for 
them," but when the other stooped for the fish, the first woman 
gave her a push, so that she fell Into the water, and then she 
held her under with a forked stick. Great bubbles came up 
as the victim struggled, but at last they ceased and she was 
drowned, whereupon the murderess drew out the body, cut 
off some flesh, put It In a bamboo vessel, and going home, set 
the vessel on the fire to cook. Now the dead woman had two 
children, a boy and a girl, and they asked the wicked woman 


what she was cooking. She replied, "Fish and eels," and then 
saying that she was- going back to her comrade, she told the 
children to watch what she had left to cook. After she had 
left, the flesh of the children's mother soon began to boil, 
saying, "I am your breasts here; I am your mother here!" 
The girl, who heard this, called to her brother, and he came 
and listened, whereupon the children said to one another, 
"We must run away, whether we meet with good fortune or 
bad." The wicked woman now came home, and the children 
asked her where their mother was, to which she replied that 
her companion was still busy smoking the fish which they had 
caught, and that she was now going to take her some food. 
Then she went ofT again, telling the children to look after her 
own little one, who was younger than they; but when she had 
gone, the two children took the young child of the wicked 
woman, put it in the pan to cook over the fire, and ran away. 
They went across seven mountains and seven valleys and came 
to a river which was full of crocodiles, so that they could not 
pass. A bird saw them, however, and learning of their trouble, 
told them of a log that lay athwart the river some distance 
up-stream; and after they were safe on the other side, the bird 
flew across the log, which it nearly severed with its beak. 
The wicked woman returning to the house and finding her 
child all shrivelled and burned, set out at once in pursuit, 
saying, "You who did this shall die this very day." By and 
by she came to the log by which the children had crossed, 
but when she attempted to follow them, it broke under her 
weight, and she fell into the stream, and the crocodiles ate her 
up. The bird now told the children that they must not follow 
the path that led to the left, but must take that going to the 
right. They did not heed this advice, however, and turning 
off to the left, after a time they met Kine-kine-boro, an ogre 
who had a carrying-basket on his back in which a man was 
stuck head down. The children called out, "Good grand- 
father, grandfather, look here!" and he, replying, "Ha! from 


the beginning of the world, I have never had any children or 
grandchildren," looked around and called to them, "Grand- 
children, come here!" Accordingly they went with him to 
his house, and after they had been there half a moon, they said 
to him, "Grandfather, haven't you an axe?" "Yes," said he, 
"here is the axe, what do you want with it?" "We want to 
make a canoe to play with." So they went to cut down a 
tree, and Kine-kine-boro felled one and carried it home for 
them; but next day, when the ogre and his wife had gone off 
to seek for men to eat, the children finished their canoe, loaded 
it with rice and precious goods belonging to the ogre, and pad- 
dled away. Not long after, Kine-kine-boro and his wife re- 
turned, and as they had not found any men, they went to the 
enclosure where the children were kept, purposing to eat them. 
Since, however, their intended victims were not there, the ogre 
and his wife climbed into a tree to look for them, but could not 
see them, though by climbing a very tall tree Kine-kine-boro 
at last descried them, the sail of their canoe being a mere 
speck on the horizon. Then he took his hair and from it 
plaited a rope, which he threw after the canoe like a lasso, 
so that finally he caught the little boat and began to pull it 
in. The two children tried to cut the rope, but in vain, until, 
after sawing at it for a long time with a kris, it broke, where- 
upon — so tightly had the rope been stretched — the tree, 
in whose top Kine-kine-boro was, snapped back. Seven times it 
swayed toward the land, and seven times toward the sea, and 
Kine-kine-boro fell from the tree upon his wife who was below, 
and they both burst with a noise like thunder and died, but 
the children got safely away.^^ 

As an example of a different type of cannibal-story the fol- 
lowing may serve.'*" A swangi (one who is secretly a vampire) 
once was going out to eat the flesh of men when a youth met 
him and begged to be allowed to accompany him, to which the 
swangi agreed, but said, "If you go with me, you must shut 
your eyes, and open them only when I tell you." The young 


man promised and closed his eyes, and when, soon afterward, 
the swangi said, "Open your eyes," he found that he and the 
swangi were on the top of a jtn'A-plant that grew up a tall 
tree. At the foot of this plant was a house, and one of the 
children of the people living there was ill. Then the szvangi, 
saying, "You stay here. I will go down," descended and took 
the liver out of the child, and not only ate it himself, but also 
gave the young man a small piece. The latter, however, did 
not swallow it, but only pretended to do so, eating instead a 
bit of coco-nut which he held concealed in his hand. Then 
the swangi said to the young man, "Tell me, friend, isn't it 
good.^" and the Latter replied, "It is very good." Thereupon 
the szvangi climbed down again to get him more liver, but 
after he had gone, the youth also descended, tied a rope to a 
heavy rice-mortar, and then went up once more, hauling 
the mortar to the top of the tree. By and by the szvangi came 
out, but just as he reached the foot of the tree, the young man 
let the rice-mortar drop and called out, "It is falling; catch it." 
Thus the rice-mortar fell on the szvangi and killed him, where- 
upon the youth climbed down and showed the people in the 
house the liver of their child, saying, "Look, this is your child's 
liver. A szvangi has eaten the liver, so your child died. But 
it was fortunate that I was there, for now the szvangi is dead." 
The following Philippine tale ^^ introduces a number of 
incidents whose distribution is of interest. Aponibolinayen 
said, "I am anxious to eat the fruit of the bolnay-tree belonging 
to Matawitawen;" but when Ligi asked, "What did you say.^" 
she replied, "I said that I want some fish roe." Accordingly, 
Ligi took his net and went off after fish, and when he had caught 
some, he took out the roe, brought it back to the house, and 
gave it to Aponibolinayen. She accepted it, but did not eat 
it; and after Ligi had gone away, she threw the roe to the dogs, 
who fought for it. Ligi heard them and said, "What are the 
dogs fighting about.'' I think you threw away the fish roe," 
to which Aponibolinayen replied, "I dropped some." Again 


Aponibolinayen said to herself that she wanted the fruit of the 
bolnay-tree of Matawitawen; but when Ligi heard her and 
asked what she said, she replied, "I am anxious for some deer 
liver." So Ligi went to kill a deer, and he got one and brought 
the liver home; but though Aponibolinayen again took what 
he brought, she did not eat it, but when Ligi slept, flung it to 
the dogs, who quarrelled over it and woke Ligi. Once more he 
accused her of having thrown the food away, but she again 
denied it, after which she went to her room and lay down, 
while Ligi, turning himself into an ant, crept through the 
cracks of the floor, and hearing what Aponibolinayen was 
saying to herself, learned that she had not told him the truth. 
Thereupon he resumed his human form, and going to Aponl- 
bohnayen, said, "Why did you not tell the truth .^" She an- 
swered, "I didn't, because Matawitawen is very far, and I 
am afraid that you will be lost," to which he replied, "No, 
give me a sack," and so he took it and went off to get the 
bolnay fruit.^^ 

Arriving at the place where the tree grew, Ligi took the 
fruit and put it in the sack and carried some also in his hand; 
but when he was passing the spring in Kadalayapan on his 
way home, he met some beautiful girls, who said to him, 
"How pretty the bolnay fruit is! This sack is filled, and you 
have some also in your hands. Will you not give us some?" 
Ligi, however, gave them all the fruit, whereupon they said, 
"The child which Aponibolinayen is about to bear, and which 
asks for the bolnay fruit, is not your child. It is the child of 
Maobagan." At this Ligi was angry, and when he got home, 
he gave Aponibolinayen only the empty sack; but there was a 
small piece of the fruit which the other women had overlooked, 
and Aponibolinayen ate it and said, "I am anxious to eat more, 
if there are more." "What is that.?" cried Ligi, angrily. "Get 
ready, for I will put you in the place where the tree is, If you 
want more," and so saying, he seized her and dragged her away 
to the tree, and digging a hole at its foot, he burled her in it 


and went away. Soon Aponibolinayen was about to give birth 
to her child,^ "What can I do?" she asked Ayo, her spirit 
helper; and when Ayo replied, "The best thing to do is to 
prick your little finger," Aponibolinayen did so, and from the 
wound was born a child ^ which was given the name of 

Every time that he was bathed, he grew, and by and by, 
when he had become a boy, he was anxious to leave the pit; 
but his mother was afraid lest his father should find them. 
Nevertheless, the boy got out, and when he was safely away 
from the hole, he listened until he heard the sound of other 
children playing and then went to where they were swim- 
ming. The others inquired who he was, and one of them, 
called Dagolayan, saying, "He looks like my uncle in Kadal- 
ayapan," asked Kanag who his father was, to which he re- 
plied that his parent was of Matawitawen.'*^ Dagolayan and 
Kanag decided that they would go to fight, and Kanag went 
back to where his mother was in the pit at the foot of the tree 
to tell her; but though she did not want him to go, he insisted 
and said, "No, I am going. I will plant a vine; and if it 
wilts, you will know that I am dead." ^^ 

Next day Dagolayan and Kanag went off to fight, and when 
they struck their shields, it sounded as though a thousand 
men were coming. They met Ligi, who was surprised and who 
asked where he got the other boy who was with him; but 
when he heard, he wished to kill Kanag, who was saved only 
by the pleading of Dagolayan. Then they went and lay in 
wait to catch heads, and when a pretty young girl went by 
the place in which Kanag was hidden, he seized her and cut 
off her head, whereas Ligi and Dagolayan were able to get 
only the heads of an old man and an old woman. At this 
Dagolayan was angry and said to Kanag, "What did you 
say when you took the girl's head?" Kanag replied, "The 
son of an alan [a minor spirit] of Matawitawen kills the pretty 
girl," is what I said; but Dagolayan answered, "No, that is 


not what you said. You said that you were the son of a man 
who lived in Kadalayapan," and thereupon they both went 
to live with Ligi in that place. Now, one day they played and 
danced in Kadalayapan, and when Kanag danced, the whole 
town trembled, and when he moved his feet, the fish were about 
his feet, which they went to lap, for the water came up into 
the town; but when he stamped, the coco-nuts fell from the 
trees, so that Ligi was angry, and taking his head-axe, he cut 
off Kanag's head. At this instant Aponibolinayen looked at 
the vine which Kanag had planted, and behold, the leaves 
were withered; so she made haste to go in search of him. 
When she reached the place where Ligi lived, he saw her, but 
she reproached him, saying, "How angry you were, Ligi, for 
you killed your son." At this Ligi hung his head, because he 
did not know that Kanag was his son; but Aponibolinayen 
said, "I will use magic, so that when I whip my perfume, 
alikadakad, he will stand up." ^^ 

Thus she restored Kanag to life, and when he came to 
himself, he said, "How long my sleep is!" "No, do not say 
that, your father killed you," said Aponibolinayen. Ligi 
tried to keep Aponibolinayen and Kanag with him, but refus- 
ing to stay, they went back to Matawitawen, and when they 
arrived there, Aponibohnayen said, "I will use my power 
so that Ligi cannot see us, and the trail will become filled with 
thorns." Accordingly Ligi could not walk in the trail, could 
not find them, and was sad; and therefore he lay down, while 
his hair grew like vines along the ground; and he did not eat, 
for he was always grieving about the things which he had done 
to his wife and son. At last, however, they forgave him and 
returned to Kadalayapan; and Ligi ordered his spirit helper 
to kill those women whom he had met at the spring, and to 
whom he had given the bolnay fruit, for they had told him 
lies about Aponibolinayen. 

Tales embodying the theme of the "magic flight" seem to 
be rare in the Oceanic area, and the few which have been re- 


ported may well be Introduced. As an example, a story from 
Halmahera may be taken. *^ A woman once ate some mangoes 
belonging to a giant, while her dog devoured the skins, the 
consequence being that the woman bore seven children, and 
the dog, seven puppies. When the giant heard of it, he said, 
"Ha! ha! one of the children is mine." So they brought out 
one, but he would not take it; then they brought out another, 
but he would not take that; and not until they brought out the 
last, the seventh, did he say, "Ha! ha! that is my child." 
He took the boy home with him, saying, "Stay here, while I 
go to get food," and when he came back, he shut up the men 
whom he had caught. One day he said to the boy, whose name 
was Badabangisa, "You must not go away, but stay in the 
house, and prepare your food and eat. I shall be gone a week." 
The next time he went off, he said that he would be absent 
two weeks; but when he had left, Badabangisa released the 
men whom the giant had shut up, and taking the monster's 
entire store of treasure, they all ran away after setting fire to 
the house. The cinders from the burning dwelling fell on the 
giant's breast far away, and as he brushed them off, he said, 
"Badabangisa has set my house afire." Accordingly he went 
home, and finding only the ashes of his abode, which were 
not yet quite cold, he immediately set out in pursuit. The 
fugitives, however, heard him coming, and when presently he 
asked, "Badabangisa, what wrong has your father done, that 
you should leave him.^" Badabangisa replied, "I am waiting 
for you here." Then Badabangisa's companions, the men 
whom he had freed, threw salt behind them, and it became a 
great sea *^ which delayed the giant, though finally he drank 
it all up. 

Again he came after them, but when Badabangisa said to 
his friends, "Throw some ashes behind you," they did so, 
and the giant's eyes thus being blinded, he could not see. 
Yet still he pursued, so that Badabangisa said to his friends, 
"Throw some jungle marbles behind you," and when they 


had done this, the thorny plants on which these little fruits 
grow, sprang up everywhere and covered the whole body of 
the giant. This also he finally overcame, and again followed 
after them, whereat Badabanglsa said, "Throw some millet 
behind you," and when they did so, the ogre stopped to eat 
It. Once more the monster came on, and since nothing was 
left to delay him, Badabanglsa said, "Now my father will 
eat us up." Thereupon he called out to the giant, "Father, 
what Is that In your flesh.?" and the giant replied, "Do not 
touch that; It Is the life of my body. If you strike that, I 
shall die." ^° But Badabanglsa struck It, and his father dropped 
dead, and when he struck the earth, he made part of the 
mountain fall. 

Then Badabanglsa called out, "People, be still! because 
you have urged me on, I have killed my father," and he ordered 
them to bring him three pieces of white cloth to bury the giant, 
but the monster was so large that these were quite insufficient. 
After this they went on, and coming to a town, Badabanglsa 
kept firing guns for seven days and seven nights, so that the 
people Issued forth and said, "Who has become a king, that 
he fires so many guns.f*" Then they came to Badabanglsa, 
and taking him with them to the town, they made him a king, 
and held a feast for nine days and nine nights. 

A tale which Is wide-spread in Indonesia and which in 
spite of traces of outside influence seems to be largely local 
in development. Is that of the "wonder-tree." Once there were 
three orphan sisters, the two eldest of whom one day found in 
a harvested field a bird called Kekeko, and bringing It home, 
they put it in a cage. A few days later they heard the bird 
call, "Set me In a basket, and I will lay;" and though at first 
they paid no attention, they finally did as It demanded, since 
it frequently repeated the request; and lo! the next morning 
the basket was full of cooked rice and fish, steaming hot. 
This continued daily, and thus the children obtained their 
food; but as there was always too much in the basket, and it 


could not be kept, after a while they asked the bird to give 
them uncooked rice instead. This it did, and before long so 
great a store of rice was thus accumulated that all who came 
to the house were amazed at the wealth of provisions which 
the three poor orphans had. 

One day their uncle, who had heard of the great amount of 
rice possessed by the children, came to visit them; and when 
he asked them how they secured their supply, they said, "We 
have a bird, Kekeko, which we caught, and it gives us all 
the paddy." The jealous uncle asked them to lend him the 
bird, and they agreed to do so, but first whispered to It not to 
give their uncle any rice, or at best, paddy of a poor grade. 
This order the bird carried out; but when the uncle saw that 
the bird failed to give him any rice, in his anger he killed it 
and ate it. After a time the two oldest orphans, his nieces, 
came to him to get their bird back, but the uncle said, "He 
does not exist any longer, for I ate him up." On hearing this, 
the orphans were sad and rolled on the ground in grief, because 
they thought that they had lost forever the Kekeko which 
had helped them. However, they gathered up the bones of 
the bird and buried them near their house; and lo! from them 
a wonderful tree soon grew, whose leaves were of silken stuffs, 
whose blossoms were ear-rings, and whose fruits produced a 
pleasing sound. Thus the children were again helped by the 
Kekeko, even after its death." 

Another tale, similarly open to suspicion of extra-Indonesian 
influences, though probably in essence of Indonesian develop- 
ment, is as follows. Once upon a time there was a hunter who 
had a beautiful white cat to whom he one day happened to 
give food out of a coco-nut-shell which he had used for house- 
hold purposes, the result being that the cat later gave birth 
to a beautiful glrl-chlld.^^ 'p^g hunter adopted the Infant as 
his own, but later, when she was seven years old, he took to 
himself a wife, who was very jealous of the girl and did not 
know that the cat was her mother. When he went off to the 


fields, the husband always told his wife to take good care of 
the child and the cat and to give them plenty to eat; but the 
woman did nothing of the kind, for she starved them both, and 
then clapping the empty rice-basket on the girl's head, filled 
her hair with crumbs. When the father came back home 
and asked, "Did the child have enough to eat?" his wife would 
reply, "Just see! she has even got rice all over her hair," but 
if she ever gave the girl and the cat anything to eat, it was old 
rice mixed with ashes. One day, when the man had gone off 
to his fields, the girl went down to the edge of the stream, and 
standing near a tall noenoek-tree, whose ripe fruits fell into 
the stream and were carried away, she held the cat in her arms, 
and the latter sang: 

"The noenoek fruits are sweet, 
Better than the rice and ashes 
That the step-mother gives." 

By and by the man came home, and finding his child absent, 
asked where she was, to which his wife replied, "She has gone 
to the river." After a while the man followed her thither and 
heard the song which the cat was singing; but when he reached 
the place, he saw his daughter sitting on the top of a niboeng 
palm, holding the cat in her lap. Though the tree was very 
tall, the man tried to climb up, weeping and beseeching his 
daughter to come down; but she refused, and as he climbed, 
the tree became taller and taller, until at last, when it had 
grown almost up to the moon, a golden ladder was let down, 
and the girl with her cat climbed up and entered into the moon. 
The father tried to follow her, but no ladder was lowered for 
him, and trying to reach the moon without one, he slipped, 
fell, and was killed. To this day, when the moon is full, one 
can easily see Nini-anteh, as she is called, sitting beside a 
spinning-wheel with the cat beside her. 


IN drawing general conclusions regarding Polynesian myth- 
ology it was possible to employ a roughly statistical system, 
though with the clear realization that the use of this method 
was barely justified in view of the fragmentary character of 
the material. In the case of Indonesia, this treatment is less 
available, for here the incompleteness and in particular the 
unevenness of our material are much greater. No attempt, 
therefore, will be made to apply any statistical methods, and 
conclusions must depend very largely on more general features. 
Considering first the question raised at the beginning of this 
section as to a distinction between specifically Indonesian 
mythology as opposed to Malay, the results are, it must be 
confessed, rather disappointing. Practically the only data 
from the reasonably pure and uninfluenced Indonesian tribes 
are from the Igorot and Ifugao of northern Luzon in the Philip- 
pines, and even this material is as yet scanty. The Tinguian 
seem to show fairly clear evidence of some outside influence. 
From the wilder tribes of the rest of the whole East Indian 
Archipelago no myths are available, so far as the writer knows. 
Judging from this scanty store alone, it would appear that the 
type of myths characteristic of the Indonesian tribes, who 
presumably spread over the whole Archipelago before the 
arrival of the Malays, was distinguished (i) by the absence of 
any strictly cosmogonic tales, together with those relating to 
the origin of man, and (2) by the considerable development of 
flood-legends. So far as known, the trickster tales, so wide- 
spread elsewhere in the Archipelago, are practically absent; 


but, on the other hand, a considerable number of miscella- 
neous myths, pretty widely current in Borneo, Celebes, and 
the Moluccas, are present, at least among the TInguian. It 
is perhaps significant, however, that in several instances these 
tales are more archaic and purely mythical here than are the 
somewhat sophisticated versions current in the extra-Philip- 
pine area. In many of the stories from the more or less mixed 
tribes of Borneo, Celebes, and the Moluccas one feels a certain 
indefinable Indonesian quality, and these elements seem, on 
the one hand, relatively less marked among the purer Malays, 
and on the other, are those which most frequently appear 
outside the Archipelago to the eastward In Melanesia and 
Polynesia; but it must be confessed that, as far as origin-myths 
are concerned, Indonesian and Polynesian beliefs have little 
in common. Affinities in the opposite direction, i. e. on the 
Asiatic continent, are, it must be admitted, vague. One would 
logically hope to find indications of relationship with the 
Mon-Hkmer peoples of Indo-Chlna and the adjacent territory, 
with whom, on linguistic and perhaps on physical grounds, the 
Indonesians seem to be connected. Unfortunately, we possess 
little or no material on the mythology of the wilder Mon- 
Hkmer tribes, who have been uninfluenced by Indian or Chinese 
culture; although the few scraps which we have from these 
latter — i. e. from those who have almost certainly been modi- 
fied by contact with higher culture — seem to agree with what 
has been regarded as the most typical Indonesian material, in 
that the absence of any real cosmogony and the presence of 
more or less elaborate flood-myths are characteristic. It would 
be unwise, however, to lay much stress on these points, and 
all that can safely be said at present is that, on the one hand, 
there Is no evidence against an affiliation of Mon-Hkmer and 
Indonesian mythology, which would be probable on a priori 
grounds; and that, on the other hand, there are suggestions of 
Indonesian influence extending eastward through Melanesia 

and beyond. 
IX — 17 


For the bulk of the myth material from the Archipelago, 
exclusive of this more specifically Indonesian portion, the 
questions of greatest importance are (i) the extent to which 
it has been influenced by Indian and (2) by Islamic culture. 
The earliest period of Indian contact was one in which Bud- 
dhist influence was paramount, and perhaps the clearest evi- 
dence of its effect is seen in the Trickster Tales, a large portion 
of which appear in the Jatakas and other early Indian sources. 
The same tales have been found, as has been said, in Cambodia 
and Annam and among the remnants of the Cham, where In- 
dian culture became dominant even earlier than in the Archi- 
pelago; and some occur as far afield as Japan, where they are 
clearly exotic elements introduced during the earliest period 
of contact with China and Korea, in both of which areas 
Buddhism had already long been established. In how far other 
mythic elements in the Archipelago are to be traced to this 
Buddhist period must be determined by those more familiar 
than the writer with early Indian literature. Judging only 
from the evidence of the Trickster Tales, this earliest Indian 
influence shows itself in the mythology most strongly in Java 
and parts of Sumatra and southern Borneo. The decline of 
Buddhism in India and the reaction toward the later Hin- 
duistic cults, which had already begun as early as the fourth 
century a. d., was duplicated in large measure in the Archipel- 
ago: Prambanan succeeded Boro-Budur; Hindu epics like the 
Rdmayana and Mahdhharata replaced the Jatakas as a source 
from which the HInduized Javanese story-tellers could draw 
their inspiration; and the spread of literature and writing 
doubtless aided in the dissemination of this material. Beliefs 
in a triad of gods, in serpent deities and cosmic eggs, in heavenly 
beings with magic flying-houses (vidhyddharas) and roc-like 
birds who preyed upon man (garudas) — these and probably 
others seem attributable to this period and to Indian sources. 
These elements have, as compared with the earlier features, 
a wider distribution in the Archipelago, being noticeable in 


the more eastern islands, such as Halmahera and parts of 
Celebes. How far we may trace their influence among the 
more interior tribes, such as the Battak in Sumatra and the 
Kayan in Borneo, is hard to say, but in the former instance 
appreciable influence must be admitted. 

Islamic influences in the mythology of the Archipelago, 
while observable, of course, among those portions of the popu- 
lation which have become strongly Muhammadanized, seem, 
on the other hand, much weaker among the wilder tribes, from 
whom much of our material is derived. Even among the former, 
however, older Indian influences can often be discerned, as 
well as a surviving element of original Malay origin; but the 
difhculty of separating the three constituents here becomes 
very great. 

When from the whole mass of the mythology of the Archi- 
pelago we have eliminated everything that may with any show 
of probability be regarded as due either to Indian or Islamic 
contact, direct or indirect, there still remains a large body of 
material which must be regarded as native. The affiliations 
of this group of tales and incidents are clear, at least in one 
direction. With Melanesia and, so far as the scanty material 
bears evidence, with Micronesia the resemblances are patent. 
It is noteworthy that in the former area similarities occur 
predominatingly among those peoples which are Melaneslan 
rather than Papuan in language and physical type, and which 
He in the track of the assumed migrations of the Polynesian 
ancestors along the northern coasts of New Guinea and through 
the lesser islands, extending thence toward Samoa and New 
Zealand. With Polynesia itself the relations are also unmis- 
takable. Where they are clearest, they coincide with what 
we have denominated the later strata of myth, rather than 
with the earlier; with that which is more characteristic of 
Samoa and central Polynesia than of Hawaii and New Zea- 
land. To the west the congeners of this aboriginal Malay 
mythology are obscure. Our knowledge of the peoples of 


south-eastern Asia which have been uninfluenced either by 
Indian or by Chinese culture is thus far very meagre, and 
material on their mythology is almost wholly lacking. If we 
are to look to the Mon-Hkmer peoples for resemblances with 
the strictly Indonesian myths, we may perhaps expect to 
find the antecedents of Malay mythology among the Thai or 
Shan, that great group of peoples which, at the beginning of 
history in this part of the world, occupied so large an area in 
southern China and northern Indo-China. Driven south and 
east by the slow expansion of the Chinese on the north, they 
have, from the first millennium b. c, pushed down into the 
south-eastern tip of the continent, pressing in their turn upon 
the M5n-Hkmer, who apparently occupied much of the Indo- 
Chinese peninsula. Beset by peoples of Thai origin, on the one 
hand by the Sinicized Annamese, and on the other by the 
Siamese, the older Mon-Hkmer power of Cambodia finally 
perished. Yet it is not to the modern representatives of these 
conquering Thai peoples that we turn for help, for they have 
sufi"ered too much outside influence to preserve intact their 
original beliefs. It is rather to the wilder tribes of Laos, the 
Shan States, Yiin-nan, and the other provinces of southern 
China that we might look for the prototypes of the Malay of 
the Archipelago. 



OF all the Island-world of the Pacific the MIcronesIan area 
affords the poorest store of myth material; not that the 
people of these Islands were relatively destitute of mythology, 
but because until very recently practically no attempt had 
been made to gather and record It. Much of the treasure 
which was once so abundant has now disappeared for ever, 
and the blame for this loss lies here, more than elsewhere In 
the Pacific, at the door of the early European visitors. In all 
the other Oceanic regions they, or at least part of them, made 
some effort to record what their civilization was destined to 
destroy, but here scarcely a fragment was preserved. Racially 
the people of Micronesia show at least two or perhaps three 
component elements. A Melaneslan factor Is certain at least 
in some Island-groups, although Its relation to the other factors 
varies widely, some Islands showing a large mixture of Melane- 
slan blood, others but little. The non-MelanesIan element In 
the population presents some difficulty; It may be predominat- 
ingly Indonesian or Malay, or a varying mixture of both, but 
in the present state of our knowledge it would be premature 
to come to any definite conclusions. 


DETAILED myths of creation or origin are largely lacking 
from the Micronesian area, and the fragmentary cos- 
mogonic material varies widely. The belief that this world 
and the sky-world have always existed, together with an ap- 
parent lack of interest in their origin, seems characteristic of 
the Pelew Group ^ and the western Carolines; ^ although in 
the latter islands, at least, the original earth is modified and 
made habitable. According to this account, Ligobund, a 
female deity, descended from the upper realm to the earth, 
but finding this a desert and infertile, she caused plants and 
fruit-trees to grow, accomplishing it by the power of her 
mere command. From the central Carolines ^ the material is 
not much fuller. Here there was in the beginning a deity, 
Lukelang, who first created the heavens and then the earth; 
but since the latter was bare and desert, he took trees and 
plants from heaven and set them in the world which he had 
made. In the Gilbert Group ^ we are told only that Nareau 
and his daughter, Kobine, made heaven and earth. 

The conception of an original sea, on which a deity floated 
in the beginning,^ seems characteristic of the Marshall Group 
or at least of that portion of it which is comprised in the Ralick 
Chain.^ At the very first there was only the sea, which was 
limited to the south by a low, far-reaching reef and to the 
north by a swamp. A being named Loa said to the sea, " Behold 
thy island reef," and a reef appeared; and again he spoke, 
"See thy sand," and the reef was covered with soil. Once 
more he said, "See thy plants," and the earth was covered 


with living things; and when for the fourth time he spoke, 
"See thy birds," birds appeared. Then one of them, a gull, 
flew up and stretched out the arching sky as a spider spins 
her web. That this idea of an original sea was not foreign to 
the Carolines seems to be shown by a myth reported from 
Yap,^ according to which in the beginning a great tree grew 
upside down, its roots being in the sky, and its branches touch- 
ing the sea. In the boughs of this tree was born a woman to 
whom Yelafaz, a sky-deity, gave sand which she strewed 
upon the sea and thus formed the earth. Although the tale 
includes a jumble of ideas derived from missionary contact, 
these features of the tree and of the strewing of the sand upon 
the primeval sea are probably aboriginal, for the former is 
known also in Borneo,^ and the latter occurs widely through- 
out Indonesia.^ 

The fullest and most interesting creation-myth comes from 
the little island of Nauru (Pleasant Island), which lies almost 
exactly on the Equator, just west of the Gilbert Group. Ac- 
cording to this tale,^° in the beginning there were only the sea 
and Areop-Enap, "Ancient Spider," who floated above in 
endless space. One day Ancient Spider found a great rounded 
object, a tridacna mussel, and taking it in his hands, he looked 
at it from all sides, for he wanted to know if there was not an 
opening in it, so that he might crawl within; but there was 
none. Thereupon he struck the great shell, and as it sounded 
hollow, he concluded that there was nothing in it after all. 
He tried in vain to open his treasure, and at last, repeating a 
charm and making another attempt, he succeeded in prying 
the mighty valves slightly apart. At once he crept inside, but 
could see nothing for it was dark there because sun and moon 
were not yet made; moreover, he could not stand upright, since 
the space within the shell was too small. Ancient Spider 
sought everywhere on the chance that he might find something, 
and at last discovered a snail. Putting this under his arm, he 
lay down and slept for three days that he might give power 


to the snail; then he laid It aside and sought again, his 
search being rewarded by another larger snail, which he treated 
like the first. After this, taking the smaller one, he said to It, 
"Can you lift the roof a little, so that we might sit up?" The 
snail replied, "Yes," and raised the shell slightly; whereupon 
Ancient Spider took the snail, set It before the western half 
of the tridacna shell, and made It Into the moon. There was 
now a little light, and by it Ancient Spider saw a large worm 
or grub, who, when asked If he could raise the roof still higher, 
suddenly came to life and said, "Yes." So he laboured, and 
the upper shell of the tridacna slowly rose higher and higher, 
while salty sweat ran from the worm's body, and collecting In 
the lower shell, became the sea.^^ At last he raised the upper 
shell very high, and It became the sky; but RIgl, the worm, 
exhausted by his great work, fell and died. From the other 
snail Ancient Spider now made the sun and set It on the east 
side of the lower shell, which became the earth. 

Another version, ^^ admittedly less original, presents in- 
teresting similarities to Polynesian and Indonesian tales. 
According to this, the great primeval divinity was Tabuerik, 
the deity of lightning and thunder, who. In the form of an 
omnipotent bird, soared In the beginning over chaos, ^^ for the 
heavens still lay prone upon the earth and sea.^^ Then Rigi, a 
butterfly, flew over land and water and separated them, and 
other deities thrust the skies up to their proper place. A fur- 
ther possible element of Polynesian type Is the fact that in 
the larger group the first beings were two worms, one of whom 
(a female) was named Lajnan ("Cliff" or "Rock").^^ 

The myths relating to the origin of man are as varied as 
those just considered. Several tales accord a divine origin to 
mankind. In the western Carolines ^^ it is said that Ligobund 
descended from the sky to the earth, and after making this 
habitable, gave birth to three children who became the an- 
cestors of mankind. Somewhat more detailed accounts come 
from the central portion of the group. ^^ After Luk had created 


the earth and planted It, he sent down his daughter, Ligoapup, 
who, becoming thirsty, drank some water which had collected 
In the hollow of a tree. Without knowing It, with the water 
she swallowed a tiny animal, and made fruitful by this, she 
bore a girl-child. She, when she had reached maturity, became 
the mother of a daughter, who In her turn gave birth to a boy; 
and from a rib taken from this boy, after he had grown, a man 
was derived, who married Ligoapup and became the ancestor of 
the human race. The incident of the rib is probably an ele- 
ment derived from missionary teaching and well illustrates how 
such exotic features may be Incorporated into native tales; but 
it becomes especially Interesting when taken in connexion with 
some of the other myths which, though wholly native, ascribe 
somewhat similar origins to man or deities. 

Thus, in the neighbouring island of Mortlok It Is said ^^ 
that Ligoapup, after drinking the water from the hollow In the 
tree, bore a girl-child, and that then from her arm was born a 
boy, and from one eye another boy, from the other eye a second 
girl. From these the human race is descended. With this we 
may compare the origin ascribed to several living beings In the 
western Carolines,^^ the Marshall Group,^" and Nauru,^^ these 
being born or bursting forth from blood-blisters or boils on the 
bodies of one of the deities.^^ 

In Indonesia ^^ the belief In the origin or birth of certain of 
the deities from a rock was well developed in some Instances; 
and It is interesting (and perhaps significant) to find the same 
concept in the Microneslan area as well, where. In the Gilbert 
Group, It is said that in the beginning Na Rena or Rigi came 
out of a rock.24 It Is likewise to be noted that In the Marshall 
Group 25 we find the theme of Blood-Clot Child again, an origin 
from a clot of blood being given In the Ralick Chain for two 
of the deities. 

A divine source for the human race is, however, not the only 
belief which is held, for it is widely asserted that the first an- 
cestors of mankind were made. In the Pelew Group we merely 


find the statement ^^ that the two original deities created the 
first human beings, the male god making the first man and 
the female divinity shaping the first woman. In the Gilbert 
Group, at the other extremity of Micronesia, Nareua was said" 
to have set fire to a tree, and mankind originated from the 
sparks and ashes, which were carried in all directions. In 
Nauru ^^ Ancient Spider turned stones into men; but these 
became the supporters of the heavens and were not ordinary 
human beings. Indeed, no clear statement of the source of 
mankind appears to be given In this group; some of the deities, 
even, have no origin ascribed to them. Thus, Ancient Spider 
set out, after the world was created, to see if there were any 
other beings beside himself, and he came to a land where he 
found men and women sitting on the shore in the shade of 
the trees. Since he could not discern their faces clearly and 
wanted to know their names, he made, from the dirt under 
his finger-nail, a being, gave it wings, and told it to fly to 
the people and find out what they were called. So the 
bird-like being flew and settled upon the nose of one of 
the people. Another, seeing this, called out, "Tabuerik! kill 
it." Thereupon the bird flew to the others, and each time 
he thus learned the person's name, until he had got them 
all. Then he returned to Ancient Spider and told him the 

Throughout Micronesia mankind is believed to have been 
originally Immortal, or Intended to be so, and to have become 
mortal as a result of special causes. Thus in the Pelew Group ^^ 
Obagat wished that men should not die, and for this reason 
desired to place a stone in their breasts that they might be 
as lasting and as strong as the stone and not require food; 
but the Rail was opposed to this view and advised that only 
breath be put in man's bosom so that he might be subject to 
disease and death. Obagat, however, unwilling to despair, 
sent his son to get the water of life to assure Immortality to 
man; but when the liquid was brought In a taro leaf, the 


malicious bird caused a branch of a tree to strike and tear it 
so that the precious fluid was spilled upon the tree, which 
thus acquired long life and immortality, while man remained 

In the central Carolines ^^ mortality was decreed for man 
by Olofat. Luk, the highest deity, asked, "How shall it be 
with men? Shall they fall ill and die, and then live again?" 
But Olofat answered, "When men die, they shall remain dead." 
In the western Carolines a different tale is told.^^ In the be- 
ginning a woman named Mili'ar had two children, and when 
she grew old, she said to them, "After I am dead, you must 
bury me; but on the seventh day come and dig up my body. 
Thus I shall be alive once more, and beautiful and young 
again." Soon afterward, the old woman died as she had fore- 
told and was duly buried; but when the son and daughter came 
away from the grave together, they saw a fine pandanus-tvee 
and stopped to eat its fruit. Here they lingered for several 
days enjoying themselves, and only too late did they awake 
to the fact that the seven days had passed and that they had 
not fulfilled their promise. They hurried to their mother's 
grave, but found that she had died a second time, and thus, 
because of their delay and forgetfulness, all men thereafter 
were mortal. Although the story embodies one or two details 
suggestive of missionary teaching, it is clearly aboriginal in 
origin. Another version ^^ from this same region states that 
in the beginning man did not die for ever, but like the moon, 
rose again. Each month, when the moon waned and disap- 
peared, men fell Into a short sleep; and when it reappeared, 
they awoke; but an evil spirit did not approve of this and so 
arranged that death was permanent. 

Of the origin of the sun and moon several contrasted beliefs 
are held. In the Pelews ^^ the two original deities were said to 
have shaped them from stone with an adze and then to have 
cast them up into the sky; whereas in the Gilbert Group ^* the 
sun and moon, together with the sea, were the offspring of the 


first two beings created by Na Reau. After he had formed the 
first pair, Na Reau departed, saying, "I leave you here so that 
you may watch over this land, which is mine. See to it that 
you do not increase, for I will not agree to have any children 
here. If you disobey my commands, I shall punish you." De- 
Babou and De-Ai, however, did not heed the words of their 
creator, and De-Ai bore three children, the sun, the moon, and 
the sea. Informed by the eel, his messenger, that his commands 
had been disobeyed, Na Reau took his great club and came to 
the island where he had left De-Babou and De-Ai; but in 
terror they fell down before him, begging him not to kill them, 
for, said they, "We find that our children are a great aid to 
us, since the sun makes it light, so that we can see; and when 
it goes to rest, the moon takes its place; and our third child, 
the sea, abounds with fish and supplies us with food." When 
Na Reau had heard their plea, he saw that it was just, and 
forbearing to execute his intention, he went away. 

The source of fire is variously explained. In the Pelew 
Group,^^ Obagat, who is here a friendly deity, seeing an old 
woman suffering from sores about her mouth, due to eating 
raw fish and taro, took pity on mankind and taught them how 
to make fire by rubbing two sticks together. In the central 
Carolines ^^ Olofat was the owner or lord of fire, which he sent 
down to earth by the aid of a bird, who took the flame in its 
beak, and flying from tree to tree, put the seed of fire into 
them in order that men might extract it by rubbing sticks 

In Nauru two tales relating to fire are told. According to 
one of them,^^ the retreating tide once left two fishes im- 
prisoned in a tiny pool, but this soon evaporated, and the fishes 
perished. From the maggots engendered in the rotting fish 
were derived two women,^^ one of whom wished, one evening, to 
go fishing, but had no fire with which to light her torch. She 
sought everywhere, but being unable to find any, she took two 
sticks and rubbed them together; and after a while her finger 


came In contact with the groove which she had made by 

rubbing and was burned. Looking Into the groove, she saw 

fire and sang, 

"Fire, Fire, whence do you come? 
Fire, Fire, do you come from the nails of my finger? 
Fire, Fire, do you come from the nails of my toes?^" 
Fire, Fire, be warm, become hot, make the sparks glow, 
Very hot, frightfully hot, terribly hot; 
It Is called e-kainir." 

Then the flame blazed up, and she was able to light her torch; 
and thus the Nauru people first got their fire. The other tale Is 
not so much of the origin of the fire, but It presents features of 
interest for comparison. According to thls,''^ Areop-It-Eonln 
("Young Spider") was born miraculously from a boll upon 
Dabage, the tortoise; and when he had grown up to be a boy, 
he determined to visit the heaven-land. He climbed up through 
all the heavens until he came to the last, where were only 
Lightning and Thunder and Ancient Spider, the latter of whom 
called to Young Spider and asked, "Whence do you come?" 
The boy replied, "O! no, I do not come from a distant country, 
but from below;" whereupon Ancient Spider said, "How can 
you ascend hither. If your home Is In your distant land?" 
The boy answered, "I was running about and saw this country, 
and I saw you and came hither." "Very well," said Ancient 
Spider, "you may stay here, and we will live In my house;" 
but Ancient Spider laughed, for he knew how clever Areop-It- 
Eonln was and what was his origin, so he said, "Go, and get 
some fire from the house of Lightning, so that we may cook our 
fish." Young Spider started off, and as he went, the old man 
said to him, "You must not wave the brand about, else you 
will wake up the old woman's husband, Thunder, and then he 
will strike you." Young Spider, however, laughed scornfully 
at this warning, and coming to the house of Lightning, he said 
to her, "Give me a fire-brand." She got one for him, and shak- 
ing her head, said, "You must not clap your hands In im- 
patience, for my husband will wake and beat me, and I shall 


flash out at you;" but the boy cried out loudly, "Give me a 
fire-brand." Accordingly she gave it to him, and as he went 
away, he whirled it round and round; and then Thunder woke 
up, for the fire flamed brightly, and he ran after the youth 
to strike him; but the latter turned about and broke one of 
Thunder's arms, so that he fell weeping to the ground.^- The 
similarity of this to the Polynesian tales of Maui's bringing of 
fire '*^ is most significant. 

Flood-myths have thus far been reported only from western 
Micronesia — from the Pelews and the western Carolines. 
In the latter,^ it forms the conclusion to a long tale. A man 
and his wife, who was of supernatural origin, had endeavoured 
in vain to satisfy the hunger of her father, whose name was 
Insatiable, and who also was of heavenly origin, but had grown 
so huge that he filled the whole council-house and had eaten 
all the coco-nuts on the island. One day the husband, Kitimil, 
went out to look at his sugar-cane field, and seeing that a 
mouse had been eating in it, he came home and told his wife, 
Magigi, about it. Thereupon she said, "My father must be 
hungry; therefore he comes to eat the sugar-cane"; and though 
her husband replied that this was impossible, Magigi in- 
sisted, asserting that her father had the power to turn himself 
into a mouse. Kitimil, still incredulous, set a trap in the field 
that evening, and on hearing it spring during the night, shouted 
for glee. When his wife asked why he rejoiced, he said that 
at last he had found the mouse which had been eating his crop,*^ 
but Magigi was terrified and exclaimed, "Alas! it is certain 
that you have caught and killed my father. Go, and bring 
him here." Accordingly Kitimil went and brought the body 
of the mouse, but when he looked in the council-house where 
his father-in-law used to be, only to find it empty, he finally 
knew that his wife had been right. Thereupon Magigi said to 
him, "In the morning I will decide what we had better do"; 
and when the day dawned, she told Kitimil to take four of the 
mouse's teeth and his blood, and then to bury the body. 


After KItimll had done this, Maglgi said to him, "Now a 
great storm will come, and the sea will rise in flood, and all the 
people of Yap will be drowned.''^ We must, therefore, climb 
the highest mountain, and build on its top a pile-dwelling of 
seven storeys." So they took some leaves and oil and the 
teeth and the blood of the dead mouse and went to the top 
of a very high mountain, where they built a pile-dwelling, seven 
storeys in height; and on the seventh day a great storm of rain 
and wind came, and the sea rose and covered all Yap. When 
the water reached the top of the mountain, Kitimil and his 
wife climbed into the lower storey of their house; and as the 
waters continued to rise, they went up higher and higher until 
they reached the topmost storey. Since, however, the deluge 
still rose, Magigi took some oil, and putting it on a leaf, laid 
it on the water; whereupon the flood at once began to abate, 
and the storm ceased. Finally the land was dry again, and they 
came down out of the house, saying, "There is no one else left 
alive in Yap." Yet one other man had survived by lashing 
himself to an outrigger of a canoe and anchoring it to a great 
stone; and after they had found this man, Magigi and Kitimil 
returned to their home, where Magigi bore seven children, 
who scattered over all the land. 

The Pelew version ^^ is much more simple. Here the flood 
was caused in revenge by the friends of a minor deity who had 
been killed. Only to one old woman did they reveal their plans, 
advising her to take refuge on a raft; but though she did this, 
the rope with which she anchored it was too short, and so, as 
the waters rose, they covered the raft, and she was drowned. 
Her body drifted far away, but her hair caught in the branches 
of a tree, and there she was turned to stone and may be seen 
to this day. 

IX— 18 


ONE of the most Important myths or series of myths In 
the CaroUnes, outside of the more strictly cosmogonic 
tales, Is that describing the exploits of Olofat or Ollfat, the 
eldest son of Luke-lang, the highest deity. In the version from 
the central Carolines, which Is here followed,^ he appears as 
a mischievous, almost malicious, person who stands In marked 
contrast to his brother or brothers, who are beneficent; and 
It Is interesting to compare this antithesis of malice and good- 
ness with Melaneslan types.^ 

Olofat saw that one of his brothers was better than he and 
also more beautiful, and at this he became angry. Looking 
down from the sky-world and seeing two boys who had caught 
a couple of sharks, with which they were playing In a fish- 
pond, he descended to earth and gave the sharks teeth, so 
that they bit the hands of the children. When the boys ran 
home crying with pain and told their troubles to their mother, 
Ligoapup, who was the sister of Olofat, she asked them if 
they had not seen any one about, whereupon they said that 
they had, and that he was more handsome than any man whom 
they had ever beheld. Knowing that this must be her brother, 
Olofat, Ligoapup asked her sons where he was, and they an- 
swered, "Close by the sea." She then told them to go and get 
the man and bring him to her, but when they reached the 
place where they had left him, they found only an old, grey- 
haired man, covered with dirt. Returning to their mother, they 
informed her that the man whom they had seen was no longer 
there; but she bade them go back and bring whomsoever they 


might find. Accordingly they set off, but this time they saw 
only a heap of filth in place of a man; and so once more they 
went home to their mother, who told them to return a third 
time. Obeying her, they questioned the filth, saying, "Are 
you Olofat? For if you arc, you must come to our mother"; 
whereupon the pile of filth turned into a handsome man who 
accompanied them to Ligoapup. She said to him, "Why are 
you such a deceiver?" And Olofat replied, "How so.'*" And 
she said, "First, you turned yourself into a dirty old man, 
and then into a pile of filth." "I am afraid of my father," 
answered Olofat. "Yes," said Ligoapup, "you are afraid 
because you gave teeth to the shark." Then Olofat replied, 
"I am angry at Luk, for he created my brother handsomer 
than I am, and with greater power. I shall give teeth to all 
sharks, in order that they may eat men whenever canoes tip 
over." When Luk, who was in the sky-world, became aware 
of these things, he said to his wife, "It would be well if Olofat 
came back to heaven, since he is only doing evil on earth"; 
and his wife, Inoaeman, said, "I think so, too. Otherwise he 
will destroy mankind, for he is an evil being." 

Accordingly Luk ordered the people of the sky-world to 
build a great house, and when It was finished, he not only com- 
manded that a feast be announced, but also had a large fish- 
basket prepared, in which they placed Olofat and sank him 
in the sea. After five nights, when they thought he would be 
dead, two men went in a canoe and hauled up the basket; but 
behold! it contained only a multitude of great fish, for Olofat 
had slipped away and seated himself In a canoe near by. 
The men asked him, "Who are you.^" And he replied, "I am 
Olofat. Come here, and I will help you to put the fish into 
your boat." Taking one fish after the other, he handed them 
to the men, but in so doing he removed all the flesh of the fish 
and gave the men merely the empty skins. For himself he 
kept nothing but the smallest ones; and when the people said, 
"Why is it that you take only the little fish.''" Olofat replied, 


"Give Luk all the big ones; I am quite satisfied with the little 
ones." Then the people brought the catch to Luk, who asked 
them, "Where is the fish-basket? Who took the fish out?" 
When they replied, "Olofat did that, but has again placed 
the basket in the sea," Luk said, "Has he then taken no fish 
for himself?" to which they answered, "Only the very small- 
est ones." Luk now ordered all sorts of food to be prepared 
for the feast and commanded that the fishes should be cooked; 
and when all were gathered in the house, while Olofat sat at 
the entrance, Luk said, "Let every one now eat. Let the food 
be divided, and let each receive his share." Nevertheless, 
Olofat refused to receive any; and when the guests took up 
the fish, lo! there were only the empty skins, and within was 
nothing, so that they had to content themselves with fruit. 

Olofat, however, ate his own fish; but Luk said, "See, we 
have nothing, whereas Olofat is able to eat his own fish, and is 
still not finished with them." Thereupon he became very angry 
and sent word to Thunder to destroy Olofat; but since Thunder 
lived in a house at a distance, Luk said, "Take Thunder some 
food." So one of the gods took some of the viands in order to 
carry them, but Olofat, snatching them from him, himself 
carried them to Thunder; and on arriving at the house, he 
called out, "O Thunder, I bring food." Now Thunder had 
found a white hen, and coming out, he thundered; but though 
Luk cried, "Kill him," and though Thunder blazed, Olofat 
merely placed his hand before his eyes. Nevertheless, Thunder 
followed him and thundered again and again behind him; but 
from under his mantle Olofat took some coco-nut milk which 
he had brought with him, and sprinkling it upon Thunder, 
he quenched the lightning. After this he seized Thunder and 
bore him back to his own home; and when Olofat had returned 
to the feast house, Luk said, "Why has the man not been 
killed?" Notwithstanding this, Olofat again took his place by 
the door, while Luk now ordered another of the gods to take 
food to Anulap. Thereupon Olofat stood up and walked along 


behind the one who carried the food and he took the viands 
away from him, saying, " I myself will take the food to Anulap." 
So he went to the god and said, "Here are viands for you"; 
and then he turned about and came back to the great assem- 
bly house, whereupon Luk said to Anulap, "Why have you 
not killed the man?" Then Anulap took his great hook, 
which was fastened to a strong rope, and throwing it at Olo- 
fat,' he caught him around the neck; but Olofat quickly seized 
a mussel-shell and cut the rope, after which he hastened to 
the house of Anulap, where he sat down upon the threshold. 
When Anulap saw him, he seized his club to strike Olofat; but 
as he stretched it out, the latter changed himself into a wooden 
mortar. Thereupon Anulap called, "Where is Olofat.?" and 
his wife, answering, "He must have run away," they lay down 
and slept. After all this Luk said, "We can do nothing with 
Olofat; I believe he cannot die. Go, Laitian, and tell the 
people to come in the morning to make a porch for the house." 
When the people had come and asked how they should con- 
struct the porch, Luk said, "Go to the forest and bring great 
tree-trunks"; and when this was done, and the tree-trunks 
were laid by the house, Luk commanded, "Now, go and fetch 
Olofat." Olofat came and said, "I shall go, too"; but Luk 
replied, "You must aid us to build the porch. You must make 
three holes in the ground, two shallow and one deep; and in 
these the tree-trunks must be set." Accordingly Olofat dug 
three holes, but in each of them he made an excavation at 
one side; after which Luk asked, "Olofat, are you ready yet.'*" 
Thereupon Olofat, taking a nut and a stone, secreted them in 
his girdle; and Luk said, "Now set the tree-trunks in the holes." 
In obedience to this, three men seized the upper end, while 
Olofat grasped the lower part; and they pushed Olofat so that 
he fell into the hole, only to creep quickly into the space which 
he had made on the side. Not knowing this, however, they 
then raised the tree-trunk high, and dropping it into the hole, 
they made it firm with earth and stone. 


All now believed that Olofat had been caught under the 
great post and had been crushed to death. He, however, sat 
in his hole on the side, and being hungry five nights later, he 
cracked the nut with the stone which he had brought with 
him and ate it; whereupon ants came, and taking the frag- 
ments which had fallen to the ground, they carried the food 
along the trunk to the surface, going in long rows. The man 
who sat in the house above, seeing this, said to his wife, 
"Olofat is dead, for the ants are bringing up parts of his body"; 
but when Olofat heard the speech of the man, he turned him- 
self into an ant and crept with the others up the post.^ Having 
climbed high, he allowed himself to drop upon the body of the 
man, who pushed the ant off, so that it fell to the ground, 
where it was immediately changed into Olofat. As soon as the 
people saw him, they sprang up in fear, and Olofat said, "What 
are you talking about?" When Luk beheld him, he said, "We 
have tried in every possible way to kill you, but it seems 
that you cannot die. Bring me Samenkoaner." After Samen- 
koaner had come and sat down, Luk asked him, "How is it 
that Olofat cannot die.^ Can you kill him.^" To this Samen- 
koaner replied, "No, not even if I thought about it for a whole 
night long, could I find a means; for he is older than L" 
Thereupon Luk said, "But I do not wish that he should destroy 
all men upon the earth"; and so the Rat, Luk's sister, advised 
that they should burn Olofat. Accordingly they made a great 
fire, to which they brought Olofat; but he had with him a 
roll of coco-nut fibre, and when Luk ordered them to throw 
him into the flames, he crept through the roll and came out 
safely upon the other side of the fire. Then Luk said, "Rat, 
we have tried everything to kill him, but in vain"; and the 
Rat answered, "He cannot die; so make him the lord of all 
who are evil and deceitful." 


THE Micronesian myth material, as here outlined, clearly 
reveals its relationships to Indonesia on the one hand, 
and to Polynesia on the other. In the lack of detailed legends 
of creation Micronesia seems to agree with what has been de- 
nominated as the Indonesian as opposed to the Malayan myth 
type in Indonesia. In other particulars its similarities are with 
the general Indonesian material, which, as has been pointed 
out, is at present difficult to separate into its constituents, al- 
though the absence of the trickster tales seems to argue little 
direct relation with the definitely later Malay type. With 
Polynesia, the Micronesian data show many features of re- 
semblance, and these are wide-spread in the whole Polynesian 
area. Melanesian similarities are far less striking, and when 
they exist, seem to be with eastern Melanesia rather than with 
New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago, though these are 
geographically nearer. The eastern Melanesian mythology 
appears to show evidence of greater Polynesian admixture or 
affinities and to be relatively of later development than that 
of the West; and this would argue that the Melanesian con- 
tact was historically late in Micronesia, however it may have 
occurred. Of the supposedly Papuan type of mythology little 
or no trace is found. 



THE continent of Australia is not only by all odds the 
largest land-mass of the Oceanic area, but also presents 
in its physical characters the sharpest contrast to the remainder 
of the region. Continental in size, only a small section of its 
great extent possesses a tropical environment, the whole of its 
interior and most of its western portion being a vast and al- 
most waterless desert. Instead of the conditions of life being 
easy and the food-supply abundant, as in the tropical islands, 
over great parts of its area the food-quest absorbed a large 
proportion of the energies of the inhabitants. In the desert the 
summer heat is terrible, while on the elevated plateaux and in 
the mountains of the south-east the winters are snowy, and 
the cold is often intense. The sad and almost shadeless forests 
of eucalyptus, acacia, and she-oak are in sharp contrast to the 
dense growths of the tropics, and the peculiar animal life, 
characterized by the abundance of marsupials and great 
struthious birds, sets it apart from most of the rest of the Pacific 
world. Moreover, Australia is to a large degree isolated from 
the remainder of the whole area in that only at the northern 
extremity of Queensland does it closely approach any of the 
surrounding lands, although its north-western coasts are not 
very remote, as Oceanic distances go, from eastern Indonesia. 
The native peoples of Australia were in great measure as 
distinctive as its physical features, climate, flora, and fauna. 
Ranked in their culture among the lowest peoples of the world 
— wholly ignorant of agriculture, pottery, and domestic 
animals (except the dog), and over large portions of the area 


without any knowledge or means of navigation — they pos- 
sessed at the same time an extraordinarily complex social 
organization and an elaborate religious ceremonial. Although 
presenting a notable degree of uniformity throughout the 
continent, close study and comparison of the various tribes, 
particularly in regard to the languages spoken, has quite 
recently revealed ^ to us certain broad distinctions, which, 
although requiring more evidence before they can be accepted 
as entirely proved, suffice to divide the aborigines into two 
contrasted groups (or three, if Tasmania is included). The 
first of these, which may be called the northern group, occu- 
pied that portion of the continent lying north of the twen- 
tieth parallel of south latitude, together with a large wedge- 
shaped area extending southward into the interior for nearly 
ten degrees farther. Throughout this area, comprising roughly 
one-third of the whole continent, the languages spoken fall 
into a large number of small, independent, unrelated stocks 
comparable to those of the Papuan tribes of New Guinea. 
Certain cultural and physical differences also seem to mark 
this northern group in contrast with the second, which occu- 
pied the whole of the remainder of the continent. The lan- 
guages in this area, although separable into a number of groups, 
show such a degree of similarity that they must be regarded 
as related in some sense, although the precise extent is not yet 
clear. The Tasmanians would seem to have constituted a third 
group, although the fact that they have been extinct for many 
years renders our information in regard to them so fragmentary 
that definiteness on this point is almost impossible. 

These three groups have been taken as evidence of three suc- 
cessive strata of people. Of these the Tasmanians represent 
the oldest and most primitive, and that which presumably 
once spread over the whole Australian continent. The second 
group is explained as due to a great wave of immigration from 
the north which swept over and absorbed, or in places exter- 
minated, the Tasmanoid type. Latest in point of time Is the 


northern group, which, coming from the same general direc- 
tion, dominated the whole north and drove a wedge deep into 
the central portion of the continent. That the racial history 
of Australia has, however, not been quite as simple as this 
has become more and more clear with increasing information; 
but reference to other factors and possibilities may best be 
postponed to the final discussion of Australian mythology. 

Material on the mythology of the Australian natives is com- 
paratively meagre. The rapid extinction of a large portion of 
the population before any adequate observations had been 
made, and the large areas, especially in the West, still remaining 
unexplored, leave us little more than fragments available for 
the continent itself; while for Tasmania we have almost lit- 
erally nothing. Enough material, however, is at hand to pre- 
sent an outline of the main features of Australian mythology, 
and to indicate at least some of its relationships. 


MYTHS of the origin of the world are largely lacking in 
Australia as in Melanesia. With few exceptions the ex- 
istence of the earth and sky seems to have been assumed, and 
apart from certain special mountains, rocks, rivers, and other 
natural features, no account is givenof theirorigin.^ In a number 
of cases,^ mainly in the south-east of the continent, we find the 
general assertion that "all things were made in the beginning 
by a deity or supernatural being"; but in the absence of any 
specific myths it has been pointed out ^ that these statements 
may not necessarily mean all that seems to be implied. Had 
we anything more in the way of information than these brief 
statements of early missionaries and others, it is probable 
that the real belief would be found to be that only certain 
special features of the landscape were regarded as having 
been so made. In one case — the Arunta of central Australia 
— the belief in an original sea appears; and according to this 
account,"* in the beginning the world was covered with salt 
water, though gradually the sea was withdrawn by the people 
living to the north, and thus the land appeared. 

Although native speculation as to the beginning of the world 
seems undeveloped, the same cannot be said with regard to 
the origin of mankind, for on that point there are many dif- 
ferent beliefs. The myths relating to this topic may be di- 
vided into three groups, according as they ascribe to man (a) 
a wholly independent origin, (b) an independent origin as 
incomplete beings, who are then finished or completed; or (c) 
describe a definite making or creation by some deity. The 


first of these types seems to be mainly restricted to a series of 
tribes stretching from Lake Eyre northward through the central 
section of the country to the Gulf of Carpentaria.^ Among 
all these tribes the belief is held that the totem ancestors of 
the various clans "came up out of the ground," some being 
in human and some in animal shapes. They travelled about 
the country, usually leaving offspring here and there by unions 
with women of the people (of whose origin nothing is said) 
whom they either met or made; and ultimately journeyed 
away beyond the confines of the territory known to the par- 
ticular tribe, or went down into the ground again, or became 
transformed into a rock, tree, or some other natural feature of 
the landscape. These spots then became centres from which 
spirit individuals, representing these ancestors, issued to be 
reincarnated in human beings. Strictly speaking, although in 
some instances they begat direct descendants, these totemic 
ancestors should perhaps not be regarded as human creatures, 
for often they were themselves the fashioners of men from the 
incomplete forms in which they originated. As an example of 
the myths of this type (which are usually very trivial), we may 
take one from the Kaitish tribe.^ In the past a Euro man arose 
out of the ground as a child, and was found by a woman be- 
longing to the Lizard clan, who gave it milk. Every day she 
went to gather berries for her husband, who was a Wild Turkey 
man; and every day she gave milk to the Euro child, who, 
when he grew larger, ran away and met a number of Iguana 
women, who tried to fight him with lightning. They could not 
catch him, however; and so, after killing and eating them, he 
travelled on and met a man from the Wren totem, whom he 
also killed. Then he climbed a hill, scratching the sand with 
his fingers as he went, and travelling on all fours, he came to 
the camp of some Rain women. They offered him food, but 
he grew angry when they would not yield to all his demands, 
refused to eat the food, and threw it away; whereupon the 
women killed him, after which he went down into the ground. 


In general the myths of these beings seem to be independent 
in origin and unrelated, and are mainly concerned with recount- 
ing the way in which they taught certain ceremonies and cus- 
toms to the people with whom they came in contact in their 
wanderings; so that they present few details of value for our 
purposes. Differing in some respects from these myths, yet on 
the whole belonging to this class, is the account given by one 
of the tribes from Victoria,^ according to whom the first man 
originated from the gum of the wattle-tree, and issuing from 
a knot upon its trunk, entered into the body of a woman and 
was born as a male child. 

The second class of tales relates more directly to the origin 
of human beings. Myths of this type are apparently confined 
to the series of tribes just mentioned as having legends of the 
first category, but in this instance the area seems to extend 
as far as Tasmania. As an illustration we may take the version 
given by the Arunta.^ At the time of the retreat of the original 
sea to the northward there were in the western sky two 
beings who were self-existing and of whose origin nothing is 
stated. From their lofty position they saw far to the east a 
number of Inapertwa, "rudimentary human beings or in- 
complete men, whom it was their mission to make into men 
and women." These Inapertwa were of various shapes and 
lived along the edges of the sea. "They had no distinct limbs 
or organs of sight, hearing or smell, and did not eat food, and 
presented the appearance of human beings all doubled up into 
a rounded mass in which just the outline of the different 
parts of the body could be vaguely seen." The two sky-beings 
came down, therefore, from the sky and armed with large 
stone knives, set to work to make these amorphous objects 
into men. "First of all the arms were released, then the fingers 
were added by making four clefts at the end of each arm; 
then legs and toes were added in the same way. The figure 
could now stand, and after this the nose was added and the 
nostrils bored with the fingers. A cut with the knife made the 


mouth. ... A slit on each side separated the upper and lower 
eyelids, hidden behind which the eyes were already present, 
another stroke or two completed the body and thus, out of 
the Inapertwa, men and women were formed." Closely sim- 
ilar tales are told by many other tribes of the central area ^ 
and the south-east,''^ as well as in Tasmania." 

Myths of the third type are, on the other hand, characteris- 
tic of the south-easterly portion of the continent. Although in 
many cases '^ there are no detailed stories of the creation of 
mankind, the statement being merely that the first men were 
created, more definite myths do occur. Thus, the tribes in 
the vicinity of Melbourne say ^^ that in the beginning Pundjel 
made two males from clay. "With his big knife he cut 
three large sheets of bark. On one of these he placed a quan- 
tity of clay, and worked it into a proper consistence with his 
knife. When the clay was soft, he carried a portion to one of 
the other pieces of bark, and he commenced to form the clay 
into a man, beginning at the feet; then he made the legs, 
then he formed the trunk and the arms and the head. He 
made a man on each of the two pieces of bark. He was well 
pleased with his work, and looked at the men a long time, and 
he danced round about them. He next took stringybark from 
a tree, . . . made hair of it, and placed it on their heads — on 
one straight hair and on the other curled hair. Pund-jel again 
looked at his work, much pleased . . . and once more he danced 
round about them. . . . After again smoothing with his hands 
their bodies, from the feet upwards to their heads, he lay upon 
each of them, and blew his breath into their mouths, into their 
noses, and into their navels; and breathing very hard, they 
stirred. He danced round about them a third time. He then 
made them speak, and caused them to get up, and they rose up, 
and appeared as full grown young men." Some of the Queens- 
land tribes declare ^^ that the moon created the first man and 
woman, the former being made from stone and rubbed all 
over with white and black ashes, while the latter was shaped 

IX — 19 


from a box-tree and rendered soft and supple by rubbing with 
yams and mud. In South AustraHa,^^ on the other hand, there 
is apparently a belief in the creation of men from excrement 
which was moulded and then tickled, this causing the image to 
laugh and become alive. 

Another tale from Victoria records the origin of woman as 
follows. ^^ One day Pallyan, the brother (or son?) of Pundjel, 
the maker of man, was playing in a deep water-hole and in so 
doing he thumped and thrashed the water with his hands until 
it became thick and muddy. At length he saw something, and 
parting the mass with a branch, he discovered hands and then 
two heads, and at last extricated two female forms, which 
were the first women and were given as wives to the two men 
whom Pundjel had already made. An origin of mankind from 
the sky is given by one of the tribes of the Northern Territory,^^ 
who state that Atnatu, a self-created deity in the heavens, being 
angry at some of his children, threw them down to earth 
through a hole in the sky, and that these became the ances- 
tors of the tribe. The dispersion of mankind was explained 
as follows by these same tribes. After men had multiplied, 
they became wicked; and thereupon Pundjel, coming down in 
anger from the skies, whither he and Pallyan had been carried 
by a whirlwind shortly after they had made the first human 
beings, with a great knife cut the people into small bits 
which moved and crawled about like worms. Then a great 
wind arose and scattered the pieces like flakes of snow far and 
wide over the world; and wherever they fell, they developed 
again Into men and women.^^ Although presenting some ob- 
vious features of missionary influence, the tale probably con- 
tains a nucleus of aboriginal thought. 

Myths of the origin of the sun fall into two contrasted 
groups. According to the tribes of the South-East, the sun 
was made by throwing an emu's egg Into the sky; and as 
told by the Euahlayi, the story runs as follows. ^^ In the 
beginning there was no sun, only the moon and the stars; 


but one day DInewan, the emu, and Bralgah, the native com- 
panion, quarrelled and fought. In rage the latter ran to the 
nest of Dinewan, took one of the large eggs, and threw It 
with all her strength Into the sky, where it broke upon a pile 
of firewood which was there and which Immediately burst Into 
flame. This greatly astonished the beings in this world, who 
had been used to semi-darkness, and consequently almost 
blinded them; but the deity In the sky, seeing how fine a 
thing this fire was in the world, determined to have It lit every 
day and has done so ever since. Each night he and his assist- 
ants gather wood and pile it up and then send the morning 
star to inform people that the fire will soon be lit. Since, how- 
ever, the sky-deity found this notification insufficient, as 
those who slept did not see the star, he ordered a bird, the Gour- 
gourgahgah, to laugh every dawn as soon as the morning star 
paled and thus wake up the world; and the bird has done so 
ever since. Similar tales are told in every portion of this 

Another series of myths from the eastern and north-eastern 
parts of the continent describe the sun as a woman. Among 
the Arunta and related tribes of central Australia,^^ she, like 
many of the original totem ancestors, arose out of the ground, 
and later, carrying a fire-brand, ascended to the sky, though 
every night she descends into the earth, again to emerge In 
the morning. In some instances there are said to be several 
suns, who go up Into the sky in turn.^^ Among the Narrinyerl 
of South Australia ^^ the sun is also considered to be a woman, 
who nightly visits the land of the dead, although nothing is 
said of her origin. "As she approaches, the men assemble 
and divide into two bodies, leaving a row for her to pass be- 
tween them. They Invite her to stay with them, which she 
can do only for a short time, as she must be ready for her 
journey the next day. For favours granted to some one among 
them, she receives a present of a red kangaroo skin, and there- 
fore in the morning, when she rises, appears in her red dress." 


In Queensland ^^ the sun (a woman) was made by the moon, 
and although given but two legs in the common manner of 
mankind, was provided with many arms, which may be seen 
extending like rays when she rises and sets. Some of the Vic- 
toria tribes say that in the beginning the sun did not set, but 
since people grew weary of the continual day, at length the 
creator deity ordered the sun to set, and thus day and night 
originated. 2^ 

In regard to the moon two classes of tales are also found. 
According to the Arunta of central Australia,^^ in the mytho- 
logical period a man of the Opossum totem carried the moon 
about with him in a shield, keeping it hidden in a cleft in the 
rocks all day long. One night, however, another man of the 
Grass-Seed totem chanced to see a light shining on the ground, 
this being the moon lying in the man's shield; whereupon the 
Grass-Seed man at once picked up the shield with the moon 
in it and ran away. The Opossum man, discovering his loss, 
gave chase, but being unable to catch the thief, he called out 
to the moon to rise into the sky and give every one light during 
the night; and the moon accordingly went up into the sky, 
where it has remained ever since.^^ 

Elsewhere the moon is regarded as a man who rose into the 
sky. In Queensland it is said ^^ that once two Sparrow-Hawk 
brothers were out hunting for honey, and that one of them 
in trying to extract a comb from a hollow tree In which he 
had made a hole, caught his arm and could not get it out. 
His brother went to get aid, but all whom he asked to help 
refused, except the moon. The latter, however, went willingly, 
climbed the tree, and putting his head well down into the 
hollow, sneezed violently, the resultant sudden pressure of the 
air enabling the captive to withdraw his arm. The Sparrow- 
Hawk determined to be revenged on those who had denied 
him aid; and so, first burying the moon in the ground to get 
him out of harm's way, he set fire to the grass, intending to 
burn up the whole camp. Since, however, some persons were 


not destroyed, he started another blaze, this time putting the 
moon into the top of a tall tree; but again some of his victims 
escaped, and accordingly, having this time placed the moon 
high in the sky, he kindled a third conflagration and finally 
succeeded in destroying all his enemies. 

Quite a diff"erent tale, embodying several incidents valuable 
for comparative purposes. Is found in New South Wales.^^ 
According to this, the moon was an old man, very corpulent 
and very lazy, who lived with two young men who were his 
relatives. They aided him and did most of the hunting, but 
since he treated them very badly, taking for himself all the 
choice portions of meat and giving them only what was left, 
after a while they decided that they could no longer stand this 
and determined to leave. In camp they were accustomed to 
sit or lie behind him, and as he could not easily turn over, he 
used from time to time to call to them to see If they were there. 
When their plans were ready they started oif secretly In- 
structing some rubbish, which they left behind them, to answer 
for them If the old man should call.^° After they had travelled 
some distance, they were fortunate enough to kill an emu, 
and taking the bird with them to a large flat rock, they pre- 
pared to cook and eat It; but when the food was about ready, 
they remembered that emu flesh was still tabu to them as 
young men and that they could not have it until they received 
some at the hands of an older man. They therefore determined 
to use a stratagem and accordingly called out to the old man, 
who thus for the first time realized their absence. He has- 
tened toward them, but before he arrived, they caused the 
rock on which they were to grow tall, so that he could not 
reach them. When he had come, they showed him the emu, 
and he at once demanded that they throw some of the meat to 
him, whereupon they tossed down a piece of the fat, which he, 
not liking, hurled back at them; and thus the tabu was broken, 
for they had received emu flesh at his hands. Since he was 
desirous of ascending to them, they told him to get a sapling 


and lean it against the rock so that he might climb; but 
while he had gone to fetch it, they caused the rock to grow- 
still higher, so that his pole was not sufficiently long to reach 
the top. Accordingly he went again, and this time bringing a 
stick which was long enough, he started to climb up carrying 
his two dogs with him. His hands, however, were greasy from 
handling the emu fat, and when he was near the top, the two 
boys twisted and shook the stick so that Gina, the old man, 
lost his hold and fell to the ground, his two dogs being killed, 
and his back so injured that he had to walk much bent over. 
For this reason the new moon has a bent back when it appears 
each month.^^ 

In central Australia the Arunta say ^^ that In the beginning 
a man of the Opossum clan died and was buried, but shortly 
afterward came to life again as a boy. The people saw him 
rising and ran away in fear, but he followed them, saying, "Do 
not be frightened ! Do not run away, or you will die altogether. 
I shall die, but shall rise again in the sky." He later grew up 
to be a man and then died once more, reappearing as the moon, 
and has ever since continued to die periodically and come to 
life again; but the people who ran away died altogether. 

The northern tribes seem to have only a few myths relating 
to the moon. The Warramunga,^^ however, tell that the moon 
came up out of the ground as a man and was one day walking 
about when he saw the tracks of a woman. Following these 
and finally catching sight of her, he called out, whereupon she 
replied; and when he then shouted, "Don't talk so far away! 
I want to have you come near," she came to him, and they sat 
talking. Meanwhile two hawks had discovered the art of 
making fire, but unfortunately they lost control of it, and thus 
started a conflagration. The woman, seeing the flames ap- 
proaching, said, "Look out, the fire is close up now"; but the 
moon-man answered, "No hurry, it is quite a long way off 
yet." They were, however, suddenly surrounded by it, and the 
woman was badly burned, whereupon the man cut open one 


of his veins, drew some blood, and sprinkled it over the woman, 
who was thus restored to life. Then both of them went up 
into the sky.^'* 

Several accounts are given of the origin of the sea or of 
lakes and waters; and in parts of the south-east of the conti- 
nent a tale is found which recalls a type widely spread in 
Melanesia.^^ Thus, in western Victoria it is said ^^ that origi- 
nally water was kept concealed under a stone. Some birds, 
however, spied upon the jealous owner, thus discovering where 
the precious substance was hid; and in the man's absence one 
day they removed the stone which covered the opening, so 
that the water immediately flowed out and became a great 
lake.^^ The east-coast tribes have quite a different story. 
According to this,^^ once upon a time there was no water, for 
a great frog had swallowed it all. At this the people were much 
distressed, and holding a council to determine what to do, 
they agreed that if only the frog could be made to laugh, 
he would disgorge the water.^^ Accordingly several animals 
danced before him in ludicrous postures, but in vain, for the 
frog remained as solemn as before. Finally the eel tried, and 
at his wriggling and writhing the frog first smiled and then 
laughed; and as he opened his mouth, the waters burst forth 
and caused a great flood by which many were drowned. ^"^ 
The few survivors, comprising two or three men and one 
woman, took refuge on a small island; and by and by a pelican, 
coming along in his canoe, carried the men to the mainland, 
one by one, leaving the woman until the last, because he wanted 
her for a wife. She, however, was frightened, and wrapping 
a log in her skin rug to look as though she were sleeping, she 
swam away to the shore. When the pelican returned, he called 
to her, but got no reply; so he came and kicked the skin rug, 
and finding that it had only a log within it and that he had 
been tricked, he was very angry. Now at that time all pelicans 
were black, and accordingly he began to paint himself with 
pipe-clay before going to fight those whom he had saved; 


but just as he was half painted, another pelican came by, 
and not knowing what such a queer looking thing was, struck 
him with his beak and killed him. Since that day all pelicans 
have been part black and part white. 

Several other myths of a deluge or great flood have been 
recorded. Thus, according to one account,^^ a party of men 
were once fishing in a lake, when one man baited his hook 
with a piece of flesh and soon felt a tremendous bite. Hauling 
in his line, he found that he had caught a young bunyip, a 

Fig. 3. Native Drawing of a "Bunyip" 

This drawing was made by a Murray River aboriginal in 1848. The bunyip is 
a mythical animal, living in deep pools or streams, and attacking men, whom it eats. 
It was greatly feared by the natives. After Brough Smj-th, The Aborigines of 
Victoria, i. 437, Fig. 245. 

water monster of which the people were much afraid; but 
though his companions begged him to let it go, because the 
water monsters would be angry if it were killed, he refused to 
listen to them and started to carry the young bunyip away. 
The mother, however, flew into a great rage and caused the 
waters of the lake to rise and follow the man who had dared to 
rob her of her young. The deluge mounted higher and higher, 
until all the country was covered, and the people, fleeing in 
terror, took refuge upon a high hill; but as the flood increased, 
gradually surmounting it and touching the people's feet, they 
were all turned into black swans and have remained so ever 


Myths of the origin of fire are generally known and of several 
different types. Most widely spread, apparently, are tales 
which declare fire to have been originally owned by certain 
birds or animals from whom the secret was then stolen. The 
version of one of the Victorian (?) tribes runs as follows.*^ 
The bandicoot was once the sole owner of fire, and cherishing 
his fire-brand, which he carried with him wherever he went, 
he obstinately refused to share the flame with any one else. 
Accordingly the other animals held a council and determined 
to get fire either by force or by stratagem, deputing the hawk 
and the pigeon to carry out their purpose. The latter, waiting 
for a favourable moment when he thought to find It un- 
guarded, made a dash for It; but the bandicoot saw him In 
time, and seizing the brand, he hurled it toward the river to 
quench it. The sharp eyes of the hawk saw it falling, and 
swooping down, with his wing he knocked it Into the long dry 
grass, which was thus set alight so that the flames spread far 
and wide, and all people were able to procure fire. A New 
South Wales version Is somewhat different.^^ According to 
this, fire was originally owned by two women (Kangaroo-Rat 
and Bronze-Winged Pigeon) who kept It concealed in a nut- 
shell. For a long time the other animals could not discover 
how these women were able to cook their food; but at last they 
set spies to watch them and so learned the secret, whereupon, 
resolving to secure fire by a ruse, they arranged a dance and 
invited the two women to be present. One after another the 
different animals danced In ludicrous positions in an attempt 
to make the women laugh; and at length one performer suc- 
ceeded so that the women, convulsed with merriment, rolled 
upon the ground. This was just what the conspirators had 
been waiting for, and rushing up, they seized the bag in which 
was the nut that contained the fire. Opening this and scat- 
tering the flame about, they set the grass alight, and In this 
way fire was caught In the trees, whence ever since It can be 
procured from their wood by means of friction.'*^ 


A different mode of origin is found in another series of tales 
which is also wide-spread; and in some instances this second 
type is combined with the first. Thus, a tribe in the vicinity 
of Melbourne say ^^ that once two women were cutting a tree 
to get ants' nests when they were attacked by snakes. The 
women fought them for some time, but at last one of them 
broke her fighting stick, whereupon fire came out of the 
end of it, and the crow, seizing this, flew away with it. 
Pursued by two men, it let the fire fall, thus starting a con- 
flagration. These two men were set by Pundjel in the sky as 
stars, and he told all the people to be careful not to lose fire, 
now that they had it; but after a time they let it go out, and 
mankind was again fireless, while snakes became abundant 
everywhere. At length Pallyang sent his sister Karakarook 
down from the sky to guard the women, and she went about 
everywhere with a great stick, killing snakes; but in dispatch- 
ing one, her stick broke and fire came from it. The crow 
once more seized this and flew away with it, but the two men 
who had followed him before descended from the sky, and 
going to the high mountain where the crow had hidden the fire, 
brought it back again safely to mankind. Karakarook, the 
sister, had told the women to examine carefully her broken 
stick from which the fire had come and never to lose the secret; 
but since this was not enough, one of those who had rescued 
the fire from the crow took the men to a mountain where grew 
the proper sort of wood to make fire-sticks, and showed them 
how to manufacture and use them, so that ever afterward they 
should have fire whenever they needed it. 

A somewhat different element appears in another small 
group of tales. The Arunta in central Australia say ^^ that in 
mythical times a euro carried fire in its body. A man pursued 
the animal in the hopes of getting possession of the precious 
object, but for a long time he was unable to catch up with the 
euro, and although he tried to make fire with fire-sticks, he 
did not succeed. After many days, however, he finally caught 


the animal and killed it, and on examining the body, found 
fire concealed within. This he took and used to cook his food; 
and when the fire went out, he tried again to make it with 
his fire-sticks, and now was successful. A variant of this type 
is found in Queensland,^^ where fire was originally thought 
to have been contained in the body of a snake. As in the case 
of some of the tales of the origin of water and the sea, the other 
animals decided that the only way to get what they wanted 
was to make the possessor laugh; and when a bird succeeded 
in doing this by its comical gyrations, the fire issued from the 
snake's mouth, thus becoming the common property of all. 
The belief that fire was primarily contained in the body of its 
owner is one widely distributed both in Melanesia '*^ and in 

That fire was originally obtained from the sky is also an 
idea found in Australia. Thus, one of the tribes from Victoria 
declares ^° that a man threw a spear upward to the sky, into 
which it stuck; but since he had tied a string to the spear, he 
was able to climb up to the sun and to bring fire down to men. 
In Queensland ^"^ the details differ. In the beginning there was 
no fire on earth, and so the wren volunteered to fly up to the 
sky to get some; but though he succeeded in his quest, he 
hid the fire under his tail-feathers in order that others might 
not get the benefit of his discovery. When he returned and 
was asked how he had fared, he replied that he had failed in 
his attempt; but as he suggested the advisability of attempting 
to get fire from different sorts of wood, other people tried, 
only to make their hands sore and to abandon the task In dis- 
gust. Turning around suddenly, however, one of them burst 
out laughing, for he saw the fire as a red spot on the tail of the 
deceitful wren. The latter then admitted that he had been 
successful, and showed the people how to make fire properly; 
but ever since he has had a red spot on his tail-feathers. 

Still another form of legend of the origin of fire, in which 
the method of making is discovered by accident or is invented, 


is shown in a myth from New South Wales. ^^ Once there was 
no fire in the world, and all people had to eat their food raw 
or dried in the sun; but one day, when the crane, Bootoolgah, 
was rubbing two pieces of wood together, he saw a faint spark 
and a slight smoke, whereupon he called out to Goonur, the 
kangaroo-rat, "See, smoke comes when I rub these pieces of 
wood! Would it not be fine, if we could make fire for ourselves 
and cook our food without waiting for the sun to dry it?" 
"Yes," said his wife, "it would indeed be good. Split your 
stick and put dried grass in the cleft, so that even one spark 
may kindle it." He did so, and behold! after much rubbing, 
there came a tiny flame. Though they had now discovered 
the art of making fire, they resolved to keep it secret; and ac- 
cordingly, the next time that fish were caught, the two took 
theirs aside and cooked them. When they brought them back 
to camp, the other people saw that they looked and tasted 
differently, and asked what they had done to them; at which 
the two declared that they had only dried them in the sun as 
always. The others, however, did not believe this; so they 
spied and at last discovered the secret. It was then resolved 
to steal the fire, and this was accomplished, as already stated 
in previous tales, by making the stingy owners laugh and then 
seizing the precious receptacle containing fire while they were 
still overcome with merriment. A variant occurs in Queens- 
land.^^ In the beginning fire and its uses were accidentally 
discovered by lightning setting fire to the dry grass and thus 
partly roasting a kangaroo which had been killed. A woman 
was sent to get a fire-brand, of which she was put in charge to 
see that the fire should never go out; but one day it was ex- 
tinguished through her carelessness, and to punish her for her 
negligence she was sent out to find fire again and bring it back. 
Her search was fruitless, however, and in her anger at failure 
she took two sticks and rubbed them together until fire was 
produced, the secret of its making thus being found.^* 

One of the very few myth fragments from Tasmania relates 

<,• ^ 



i|;i'^.:'-<;X->'^,"-'^f J 











to the origin of fire. According to this,^^ two men once ap- 
peared standing on the top of a hill, whence they threw fire 
like a star, which fell among the people and frightened them 
so that they ran away. Apparently this started a conflagra- 
tion, and on their return the people were able to get the fire 
which they had previously lacked. ^^ 

One account of the origin of death has already been cited," 
but another version from New South Wales ^^ may be given 
for comparison. Baloo, the moon, one night seeing some men 
fording a stream, called out to them to stop and carry his 
dogs (which were really snakes) across for him. They, how- 
ever, were afraid of these creatures, for sometimes they bit 
and killed men when he brought them to earth; and for this 
reason they refused to do what they had been asked, saying, 
*'We are too frightened. Your dogs might bite us." Then 
Baloo replied, "If you do what I ask you, when you die you 
shall come to life again; not die, and stay always where you 
are put, when you are dead. See this piece of bark.? I throw 
it into the water, it comes to the top again and floats. That is 
what would happen to you, if you would do what I ask you. 
First down when you die, and then up again. If you will not 
take my dogs over, you will die like this." Thereupon he threw 
a stone into the water, and as it sank to the bottom, he said, 
"If you will not do as I tell you, you will be like that stone." 
But the men answered, "We cannot do it. We are too fright- 
ened of your dogs." So Baloo came down with his dogs and 
himself carried them over to show how harmless they were; 
and then he picked up a stone and threw it into the stream, 
saying, "Now as you would not do what I ask you to, you 
have forever lost the chance of rising again after you die — 
now you will only be black-fellows while you live, and bones 
when you are dead." 

From a consideration of the cosmogonic myths of Australia 
here outlined it would appear that a number of conclusions 
are justified. It has already been pointed out that a broad 


distinction may be drawn on linguistic grounds between the 
northern and central tribes on the one hand and those of the 
remainder of Australia on the other. Unfortunately, we have 
no myth material from western Australia, so that nothing 
can be said of its relations to the remainder of the continent. 
It is fairly clear, however, that the linguistic divergencies be- 
tween the northern and central portions as contrasted with the 
southern and eastern districts are paralleled by differences in 
mythology. In the former region we find scarcely a trace 
of any myths of the source of the world or of a creator deity. 
The origin of mankind is either a coming up out of the ground 
or a spontaneous beginning as embryonic or amorphous beings, 
who are made human by one or another group of totem ances- 
tors. The sun and moon are regarded as persons who, like 
other early mythical beings, emerged from the ground and 
later ascended to the sky, and knowledge of fire is said to 
have been taught to the ancestors in the underworld. ^^ In 
the southern and eastern portions of the continent we find, 
on the other hand, more or less definite tales of a creator-being 
and of a creation, together with myths of the origin of man- 
kind. Here the sun is often regarded as an actual fire kindled 
by an egg cast into space; here the sea (or water) is said to 
have been in the beginning either concealed or swallowed; 
and here a variety of origins are given for fire, its ownership 
by, and theft from, animals or birds being perhaps the most 
characteristic. Comparison with adjacent areas leads to rather 
contradictory results. In some particulars the northern and 
central type shows relationship to the largely hypothetical 
Papuan stratum in Melanesia, although some of its most 
characteristic elements, such as the origin of man from em- 
bryonic beings, have thus far not been reported from the 
Melanesian area.^° On the other hand, the southern and east- 
ern type reveals points of similarity with the Melanesian 
stratum in Melanesia, although from the geographical stand- 
point, and known historical relations this would hardly be 


expected. On the basis of the cosmogonic myths alone these 
suggested resemblances are uncertain at the best; and we may, 
therefore, turn to the remainder of the mythology and see 
whether the same cleavage and the same affiliations occur 
there also. 


THE tales which explain the origin'of the individual habits, 
markings, or cries of animals and other living creatures 
are quite as typical, on the whole, for Australia as are the 
Maui myths for Polynesia, the wise and foolish brothers for 
Melanesia, or the trickster stories for Indonesia. A large pro- 
portion of the myth material thus far published from Australia 
belongs to this class, which, although often interesting in 
itself, offers less in the way of significant comparative material 
than other types. While some of these tales have a fairly wide 
distribution, they are usually rather local in character. 

The practically wingless emu has naturally given rise to a 
number of such aetiological tales; and in New South Wales 
this distinctive characteristic of the bird is explained as fol- 
lows.^ Dinewan, the emu, being the largest of the birds, was 
acknowledged as king by all the rest; and accordingly the 
Goomblegubbons, or bustards, were envious of him, the mother 
bustard being especially jealous of the mother emu because she 
could run so swiftly and fly so high. She resolved, therefore, 
to put an end to the mother Dinewan's supremacy by injur- 
ing her wings; and so one day, when she saw her enemy ap- 
proaching, she sat down and folded her wings to look as though 
she had none. When Dinewan approached, she said, "Why 
don't you do as I do, and be without wings ? All birds fly and 
have wings. The Dinewan as king of the birds should do with- 
out them. When the others see how clever I am, they will make 
the Goomblegubbons king." Dinewan took this to heart, and 
finally resolving not to lose the supremacy, she went and cut 


off her wings, after which she came proudly to where the 
Goomblegubbon was sitting and called out, "See, I have taken 
your advice and now I have no wings." Then the Goomble- 
gubbon laughed, and jumping up, she danced about, flapping 
her wings and crying, "Aha! I have fooled you, old stumpy 
wings, for I have my wings still"; and so saying, she flew away. 
The Dinewan was very angry at having thus been taken In, 
and after pondering as to how she could get her revenge, at 
last thought of a plan. She hid all her young ones but two 
and then walked off to the Goomblegubbon, accompanied 
only by the pair. When she arrived, she said to the Goomble- 
gubbon, "Why don't you imitate me and have only two chil- 
dren.^ If you have many, they are hard to feed and can't 
grow up to be big birds like mine. The food that would make 
big birds of two would starve a dozen." The Goomblegubbon 
thought this over and determined to follow the advice, and 
so, killing all but two, she went with these survivors to see 
the Dinewan. Thereupon the latter asked her where all her chil- 
dren were, and the Goomblegubbon replied, "Oh, I have killed 
all but two. These will now have plenty to eat, and will grow 
to be as big as your children." Instead of congratulating her 
on her wisdom, as she had expected, the Dinewan said, "You 
are a cruel mother! Why, I have twelve children and find 
food for all of them." "But you have only two, you told me!" 
said the Goomblegubbon. "Oh, no, I have twelve; see," and 
she called her hidden children, who came out and marched 
proudly about. "Now, you can see that I told you the truth. 
Think of your murdered little ones, while I tell you your fate. 
By trickery, you robbed the DInewans of their wings, and now 
forever, as long as the Dinewan has no wings, so long shall the 
Goomblegubbon lay only two eggs. We are quits at last! You 
have your wings, and I have my children." 

In Victoria,^ the following tale Is told of the kangaroo and 
the wombat. The two once lived together as great friends; 
but though the latter had a good hut, the former possessed 

IX — 20 


none and slept in the open. One day a great rain fell, and the 
wombat made himself comfortable in his house, while the poor 
kangaroo had to remain outside in the wet; when at last the 
latter could bear it no longer, he went to the wombat's hut, 
and asked permission to sit in one corner. The wombat, 
however, refused, saying, "I want that place for my head," 
and moved over so as to lay it there; and when the kangaroo 
answered, "Well, this other place will do," the wombat re- 
plied, "No, I want to put my feet there." Thus he refused to 
let the kangaroo take refuge anywhere within the house; and 
so the latter, angry at such treatment, took a great stone and 
struck the wombat on the forehead, making it quite flat. When 
he had done this, he said, "You shall have a flat forehead and 
live in a dark hole in the ground"; and to this day the wombat 
has a flat forehead and lives in the ground. The wombat, 
however, was not without his revenge, for he threw his spear 
at the kangaroo and hit him in the back, the missile sinking 
into his spine. "Now," said the wombat, "that will always 
stick there, and you shall have a tail; and you will always use 
it when you run, and you shall never have a house." 

Many of the tales of this type serve to explain the geo- 
graphical distribution of certain animals or birds. Thus, one 
of the Queensland tribes ^ says that once the fish-hawk had 
poisoned a water-hole with roots and went off to sleep until 
the fish should be stupefied and rise to the surface; but mean- 
while a pheasant came by, and seeing some of the fish, speared 
them. The hawk, discovering this on his return, awaited his 
opportunity and hid the pheasant's spears in a tree, but the 
owner climbed the tree and got his weapons, with which he took 
more of the fish-hawk's catch. Accordingly the latter hid the 
spears again, this time in the top of a very tall tree; but though 
the pheasant at last spied them, he was too lazy to climb so 
high, and going up-stream, he caused a flood to rise which 
swept the fish-hawk and his fish out to sea. So to this day the 
fish-hawk is found only along the shore, while the pheasant is 


always vainly looking for his spears on the upper branches 
of the tallest trees. 

The snake-like head of the tortoise has doubtless suggested 
the following tale, which is told in South Australia.'' Originally 
the turtle possessed venomous fangs, and the snake had none; 
but since the latter lived on the shore, he was more liable to 
be attacked and killed than the turtle, who could take refuge 
under water or on an island. Accordingly the snake offered 
the turtle his head, if the latter would give him his fangs, and 
to this the turtle agreed; whence the snake now has fangs 
and can protect himself, while the turtle has a snake's head and 
takes refuge under water. Another tale ^ accounts for the red 
legs of the curlew. According to this, one day the hawk, who 
was the mother of Ouyan, the curlew, said to him, "Go out 
and get an emu for us. You are a man and a hunter, and must 
go and get food for us, and not stay in camp like a woman." 
Accordingly Ouyan took his spears and went off; but being 
unable to find an emu, and fearing the jeers of the women, he 
cut some flesh from his own legs and carried it home, telling 
his mother that he had gone far and seen little game, but that 
he had brought something, and that there would be enough for 
all. So the women cooked the flesh and ate it, but afterward 
were quite ill. The next day Ouyan went off again, and being un- 
successful as before, he brought back another piece of his flesh; 
but this time the women were suspicious, and thinking that 
the meat was unlike that of the emu, they determined to see 
what Ouyan did on the following day. Thus they found how 
he secured the meat, and when he returned as usual and then 
went to lie down saying that he was tired, they rushed up, 
and pulling off the covering which he had drawn over himself, 
disclosed his legs all raw and bleeding. They upbraided him 
for his laziness and evil tricks, and beat him, after which his 
mother said, "You shall have no more flesh on your legs here- 
after, and they shall be red and skinny forever." So Ouyan 
crawled away and became a curlew, and these birds cry 


all night, "Bou-you-gwai-gwai! Bou-you-gwai-gwai ! " which 
means, "O, my poor red legs! O, my poor red legs!" 

Still another example ^ of this type of tale runs as follows. 
The crane was an expert fisherman, and one day when he had 
caught a large number of fish, the crow (who was white) came 
along and asked the crane to give him some; but the latter 
answered, "Wait a while, until they are cooked." The crow, 
however, being hungry, kept begging to be allowed to take the 
fish, only to hear the crane always reply, "Wait." So at last, 
when his back was turned, the crow started to steal the fish, 
but the crane saw him, and seizing one of them, he threw it 
at the crow and hit him across the eyes. Blinded by the blow, 
the crow fell into the burnt grass, rolling about in pain; and 
when he got up, his eyes were white, but his body became as 
black as crows have been ever since. Resolving to get even 
with the crane, the crow bided his time, and when the latter 
was asleep one day with his mouth open, he put a fish-bone 
across the base of the crane's tongue and hurried away. On 
awaking, the crane felt as though he were choking and tried 
to get the bone out of his mouth; but in so doing he made a 
queer, scraping noise, which was all he could do, for the bone 
stuck fast; and so ever since the only sound that a crane can 
make is "gah-rah-gah, gah-rah-gah," while the crow has re- 
mained black. 

Examples of these animal stories might be multiplied almost 
indefinitely, but enough have been given to illustrate the type. 
It is to be noted, however, that characteristic as is this form 
of myth for Australia as a whole, it seems to be especially 
abundant in the south and east. In the central and northern 
districts (at least so far as published material is concerned) 
the prevalent assumption seems to be that just as the world 
and people have always existed, so the animals have had all 
their present characteristics from the very beginning. Here 
again, therefore, we find a distinction between the two main 
groups of Australia, outside of which this sort of myth is not 


so highly developed. As has already been shown, Melanesia 
shows quite a few stories of this kind, but from Polynesia and 
Indonesia relatively few have been recorded. 

Among the tribes of the southern and eastern portions of 
the Australian continent a number of tales have been reported 
which deal with beings (sometimes described as brothers) 
whom the minds of the people associate more or less closely 
with the creator deity. One of the most characteristic of these 
legends introduces an incident of some importance for compara- 
tive study. As told in South Australia'' the story runs as fol- 
lows. Wyungare, a man whose miraculous origin from ordure 
has already been recounted,^ was a great hunter and a hand- 
some man; and one day, while he was drinking water by draw- 
ing it up from a lake through a long reed, the two wives of 
Nepelle saw and admired him, and desired him for a husband. 
Accordingly, when he was asleep in his hut, they made a noise 
like emus running past, and Wyungare, waking, rushed out 
with his spear, thinking to secure the game; whereupon they 
greeted him with shouts of laughter and begged him to take 
them as his wives, which he obligingly did. When Nepelle dis- 
covered his loss, he was very angry and went to Wyungare's 
hut to try to kill the culprits; but since the hut was empty, he 
placed some fire inside, telling it to wait until Wyungare and 
the two women were asleep and then to get up and burn them. 
His orders were carried out exactly, and in the night Wyun- 
gare and his new wives were awakened by the flames and just 
had time to escape from the blazing hut. The fire, however, 
pursued them, and they ran until they reached a deep swamp, 
in the mud of which they took refuge; here the flames could 
not reach them. Dreading further attempts of Nepelle to be re- 
venged, Wyungare looked about him for means of escape, and 
determining to ascend to the sky, he took his spear and hurled 
it straight upward with a line attached. The spear stuck 
firmly, and by means of the cord he ascended and pulled the 
women up after him, where they may now be seen as stars. 


Farther to the north, in northern New South Wales, almost 
the same tale is told,^ but with this difference, that the ascent 
to the heavens was accomplished by throwing a spear into the 
sky; then casting a second, which stuck in the butt of the 
first; and so forming a chain of spears which finally extended 
down to earth and up which the fugitives climbed to safety. 
A similar method of reaching the sky is also recorded among 
the Narrinyeri ^° from whom the first tale was obtained, but 
is given simply as a means by which a person succeeded in 
climbing to the heavens. It will be remembered that in Mela- 
nesia the arrow-chain as a method of ascent to the sky was 
wide-spread,^^ and the occurrence of the same incident here 
(substituting spears for arrows, since the latter are unknown 
in Australia) is certainly significant. 

Of equal importance are two tales which would seem to be 
incomplete and mutilated versions of the swan-maiden epi- 
sode, which is also widely current both in Melanesia and in 
Indonesia. The Victorian (?) recension ^^ narrates that one 
day a man who was out hunting surprised a number of winged 
girls who were bathing; and owing to the fact that he was very 
handsome, they fell in love with him and became his wives. 
Nothing is here said of their being sky-maidens or of the usual 
incident of stealing the wings; but in a version recorded in New 
South Wales some of these elements appear. According to this 
form of the tale,^^ there was once a man who was so badly 
treated by his fellows that in anger he determined to leave them 
and seek a home in a far country. He travelled for a long way, 
having many adventures on the road, and at last came to a 
camp, where there were only seven girls who received him 
kindly and gave him food, telling him that they had come from 
a distant land to which they hoped to return. Next day 
Wurruna, for this was the man's name, left, but after going a 
short distance, he hid to see if he could not steal one of the 
girls for a wife. They set out with their digging sticks to get 
flying ants' nests, and while they were eating the grubs, they 


laid aside their tools, whereupon Wurruna, sneaking up 
took two of them. By and by the girls started for home, but 
two of them, being unable to find their digging sticks, were 
left behind by the others; and as they were busy searching 
for their lost implements, Wurruna jumped out and seized 
them. Though they struggled for a time, they finally agreed 
to marry him; and for a while they lived happily enough. 
Then one day Wurruna ordered them to get some pine-bark 
to make the fire burn better, but they demurred, saying, 
"No, we must not cut pine-bark. If we do, you will never 
see us again." Wurruna, angry at their refusal, replied, "Go, 
don't stay to talk. Do as I bid you, and if you try to run away, 
I can easily catch you." So they went, each to a different tree, 
and struck their hatchets into the trunk; but as they did so, 
the trees began to grow, and since the women clung to their 
weapons, they were carried up with the trees. Higher and 
still higher they went as the trees grew upward, and Wurruna, 
seeing them, ran thither and called to them to come down; 
but they paid no heed and at last were carried up to the sky. 
When the tops of the trees reached the heavens, their five sisters 
looked out from the sky-country and called to them, telling 
them not to be afraid, but to come and join them^. Accordingly 
Wurruna's two wives, climbing from the trees up into the sky, 
joined their sisters who had gone back to their own country, 
and ever since they have remained there with them as the 
seven stars which we call the Pleiades. It will be observed 
that in this tale, as in the previous one of the ascent to the 
sky by the spear-chain, the more northerly version is closer to 
the Melanesian prototype, so that it would seem as though we 
might assume a progressive modification of the themes with 
increasing distance from their approximate source. In this 
connexion it is especially regrettable that no adequate material 
is available from Queensland. 

By no means so significant as the two groups of myths just 
considered, but yet of some value for comparative purposes, 


are the tales In which a person is swallowed by a monster. A 
version told in New South Wales ^^ runs as follows. Byamee, 
the creator-deity, one day went off to get honey, and his two 
wives started out to gather figs and yams. While they were 
enjoying themselves swimming in a deep water-hole, they 
were seized and swallowed by two water monsters, who then 
dived deep, and traversing an underground passage, took all 
the water with them, after which they proceeded down the 
stream, carrying the waters as they went. On his return 
Byamee found his wives missing, and setting out in pursuit, 
he followed down the river-bed, which was now dry, until, by 
cutting across bends of the stream, he got ahead of the mon- 
sters. As they came on, he threw his spears at them and finally 
killed them, the water gushing forth and refilling the bed of the 
stream; after which he cut open their bodies and took out the 
forms of his wives, which he laid upon some red ants' nests. 
These quickly cleaned the slime off the bodies, and when they 
stung them, they made the muscles twitch, so that the two 
women were soon restored to life. Byamee then cautioned them 
not to bathe again in such deep water-holes, and pointing out 
the cavities in the ground made by the struggles of the mon- 
sters, and now filled with water, said that ever afterward these 
should be lakes on which many wild fowl would gather; and 
to this day Narran Lake marks the spot. 

Interesting in that Its similarities lie far afield is an Incident 
in a tale recorded from Victoria. ^^ Among some of these tribes 
there are quite a series of stories recounting the deeds and ad- 
ventures of two brothers, the Brambrambult, or two Brams. 
On one occasion Gartuk, the mopoke, having been badly used 
by them, resolved to get even, and finding his opportunity 
when a great wind-storm arose, he made a great kangaroo- 
skin bag, caught the wind in it, and tied it up.^^ In the course 
of time he thus similarly captured and imprisoned three wind- 
storms, and taking the three receptacles containing them, he set 
off for the camp of the Brams. Having found it, he unloosed 


the bags and released all three storms at once; but when the 
two brothers realized their danger, each seized hold of a tree 
to prevent being blown away, while their mother, the frog, took 
refuge under ground. One of the trees was strong enough to 
withstand the tremendous force of the wind, and the elder 
brother was saved by clinging to it; whereas the other tree 
broke, and the younger was carried oflf by the hurricane. When 
the storm was over, the elder brother sought everywhere for 
the younger, but all his efforts being in vain, he called upon 
his mother to aid him. She accordingly pressed milk from her 
breasts, and this, by flowing in the direction in which the 
younger brother had been carried, guided the elder Bram in 
his search, which was at last successful. 

Apparently characteristic of the south-east, but showing no 
resemblances elsewhere, is a legend which might better perhaps 
have been placed with the animal stories. As told in Victoria, ^^ 
the tale runs as follows. The native bear, when he was still a 
child, was left an orphan; but the people to whom he was en- 
trusted did not take any care of him and often, when they went 
hunting, left him in camp with no water to drink. One day, 
after they had thus abandoned him, they forgot to hang their 
water-vessels out of his reach, so for once he had plenty. To 
be revenged for his previous ill treatment, however, he took all 
the water-vessels and hung them in a tree; and he also gathered 
the waters of the streams, and putting them into other vessels, 
he carried them to a tree, into the top of which he then climbed 
and which he made to grow until it was very tall. By and by 
the people returned tired and thirsty from their day's hunting; 
but when they looked for their water-vessels, they could not find 
them, and when they went to the stream, It was dry. At last 
they spied the little bear and all the water-vessels high up in 
the tree and called out to him, asking if he had any water, to 
which he replied, "Oh, yes; but I shall not give you any, be- 
cause you have so often left me thirsty." Two of the people 
then started to climb the tree to take the water by force, but 


when they had ascended a little way, the bear let some of the 
water fall upon them, thus loosening their hold so that they 
fell and were killed. Several other men made the attempt, 
but with the same result; and finally two of the sons of Pund- 
jel came to the people's assistance. Unlike their predecessors, 
they climbed spirally round and round the tree, so that when 
the bear threw the water down, they were on the other side of 
the tree from where he had seen them a moment before. In 
this way they succeeded In reaching the top, and the bear, 
seeing that he could not help being caught, began to cry. 
Paying no attention to him, however, they beat him until all 
his bones were broken and then threw him down; but Instead 
of dying, he was turned into a real bear and climbed another 
tree. The two sons of Pundjel then descended, and when they 
had felled the tree In which the vessels had been stored, all the 
water there secreted flowed out into the streams, and ever 
since they have contained water for people to use. After this 
the two sons of Pundjel told the people that they must never 
again break the bones of the bear when they killed him nor 
might they skin him before roasting. To this day the bear 
still continues to live in trees and will cry whenever a man 
climbs the one in which he is sitting; and he always keeps near 
water, so that if the rule In regard to breaking his bones should 
be infringed, he can again carry off the water of the streams. 

Cannibal-stories seem to be less common than in Melanesia. 
One tale, which appears to be current both in the central area ^^ 
and in Victoria, ^^ runs as follows. Two old men, who were 
brothers, were travelling with a young man who was their 
nephew; but since the old men were cannibals and planned to 
kill and eat the young man, one of them secreted himself in a 
cave, while the other sat down near by. Meanwhile the young 
man went off to hunt and drove much game down from the 
hill, all of which ran into the cave where one of the old men was 
hidden. The other cannibal then called to his nephew to go in 
and kill the game, which he did, partly by blows and partly 


by suffocating them with thick smoke from a fire built at the 
mouth of the cave. After this the old man asked the younger 
to enter again and drag out the game; and while he was so en- 
gaged, the cannibal who had concealed himself rushed from 
his hiding-place and endeavoured to kill the boy. The latter 
dodged, however, and crept out, telling his other uncle that 
there was a man in the cave who had tried to murder him. 
The old deceiver stoutly denied this, and going in, he whispered 
to his accomplice that he must hide himself elsewhere for a 
time until their nephew had grown up, lest the latter should 
kill them both. Hearing them talking, the boy asked who was 
there; but the old man declared that there was no one else in 
the cave and said that he was only speaking to an old wallaby, 
which he dragged out as he came. The boy, however, did not 
believe it; so the one who had been hidden in the cave came 
out secretly and concealed himself in another cavern. After a 
while the same drama was enacted as before; but this time the 
boy was determined to destroy both cannibals. Accordingly, 
when the old man who was secreted in the cave struck at 
him, he again induced the other to enter, and then, piling up 
a great quantity of grass before the opening and setting fire to 
it, he smothered them both to death. After they were dead, 
they ascended to the sky, where they may still be seen as 

A second cannibal-tale ^° runs as follows. The members of 
a certain tribe began to decrease one by one, and hunters and 
women who went far from camp failed to return, until at last 
only one family was left. Determining to find out how all their 
kinsmen had perished, and leaving their old father to take care 
of the women, the sons set out and after travelling for some 
distance they met an old man carrying a hollow log, who asked 
them to aid him to get a bandicoot out of it. They feared trick- 
ery, however, and refused to put their hands into the trap, 
thrusting In a stick Instead; and their suspicions were justified, 
for out came a great snake with a head at each end of Its body. 


Taking their sticks, they cut the reptile in two, and thus made 
them as we see them today; and having done this, they killed 
the old man. Continuing on their way, they came to his hut, 
where were piles of bones of the people whom he had killed; 
and going farther, they reached a lake, by which grew a tree. 
In the tree was a beautiful woman who invited the men to 
climb up to her; but before they did so, they noticed that the 
lake was filled with the remains of human bodies, for the woman 
was a cannibal and enticed men to ascend the tree that she 
might kill and eat them. Resolved to punish her for her mis- 
deeds, they went up with care and pushed her into the lake, 
where she was drowned. 



FROM a consideration of the Australian cosmogonic myths 
alone, the inference was drawn that the central and north- 
ern portions of the continent exhibited a type of mythology 
which was unlike the southern and eastern; and this conclu- 
sion is, on the whole, strengthened by the evidence derived 
from the animal and miscellaneous tales. The former class of 
explanatory myths appears to be much more fully evolved in 
the southern and eastern portions of the continent than in the 
central and northern; where, on the other hand, we find a high 
development of the peculiar type of tales which recount both 
the origin of the totemic ancestors by coming up out of the 
ground, and their wanderings and activities as instructors in 
ceremonial and social usages. In the central area the great 
bulk of all the mythology so far published is concerned with 
the doings of these totem ancestors, and there is a relative 
absence of tales relating to heroes or mythological personages 
which are not directly associated with limited groups of people, 
but are the common property of the whole tribe. Totem clans 
and ceremonies form an integral part of the organization and 
life of the southern and eastern tribes just as they do in the 
central area, but they do not so completely dominate the 
mythology. In the distribution of particular tales or incidents, 
in like manner, there are certain ones which belong to one or 
other of the two main areas, but relatively few which are com- 
mon to both. Thus the distinction between the central and 
northern areas on the one hand, and the southern and eastern 
on the other, which has been recognized on linguistic grounds, 
apparently finds a fair parallel in the mythology. 


When we come to compare the Australian myths with those 
of the other portions of the Pacific area, one or two points 
seem to stand out clearly. Resemblances to Melanesia, both 
in general type and in specific details, are most marked in the 
southern and eastern portions of the continent. Only here, 
apparently, do we meet with such themes as the swan-maiden 
or the arrow-chain; and it is here that the animal stories are 
most abundant, and that we find cosmogonic tales referring 
to the creation both of the world and of man. The closest 
affiliation of Australian mythology with that of Melanesia 
seems to be with the Melanesian rather than with what has 
been tentatively called the Papuan. There seems, however, 
to be little trace of the wide-spread Melanesian dualistic ideas 
as revealed in the tales of the wise and foolish brothers; al- 
though possible suggestions of this may be found in some of the 
Queensland myths or in the New South Wales stories of the 
two Brams. The mythology of the central and northern por- 
tions of Australia, on the other hand, stands more or less alone; 
and so far as its peculiar tales of totem ancestors are con- 
cerned, it seems to be unique. In its lack of cosmogonic tales 
and in its numerous myths which are restricted to relatively 
small local groups or classes in the community it shows many 
resemblances to the Papuan type as this has been defined in 
Melanesia, although the similarity is not very striking. The 
task of unravelling the relationships of Australian mythology 
is made much more difficult by the complete lack of all knowl- 
edge of Tasmanian beliefs and of those of the western and south- 
western portions of the Australian continent. If, as seems 
probable, the Tasmanians represented in their isolation the 
oldest stratum of the Australian population, it was from them, 
and from them alone, that a knowledge of really aboriginal 
mythology could have been obtained. Cultural, linguistic, 
and physical evidence clearly shows that the present inhabit- 
ants of the continent are a mixture of this earliest stratum 
with at least two groups of invaders. The linguistic data 


have been taken to indicate that the central and northern 
tribes is the later of these groups and represents a Papuan 
wave from New Guinea; but on the basis of mythology it 
would seem that an alternative hypothesis is rather more in 
accord with the facts, and that the central and northern tribes 
represented the earlier (and presumably Papuan) group, driven 
back into the less favourable portion of the continent by a 
wave of Melanesian peoples spreading from the north-east, 
thus repeating a process which had already taken place in 
Melanesia itself. It is very difficult, however, to harmonize 
this view with the evidence derived from other sources, and 
we cannot hope for a solution until such time as we possess 
adequate information in regard to the mythology, culture, and 
physical characteristics of the Papuan tribes of Melanesia. 


THE sketch of the mythology of Oceania given in the pre- 
ceding pages has been arranged in five main sections, 
each confined to one of the geographic or ethnographic areas 
into which the whole region is usually divided. At the end of 
each section we have given the general conclusions reached 
from a survey of the material; and these may now be briefly 
summarized, in order that we may gain an outline of the growth 
of Oceanic mythology as a whole. 

The oldest and most primitive stratum of mythology in 
Oceania is either lost to us entirely, as in the case of Tasmania, 
or else is unknown, since no material from the Negrito peoples 
of the area is as yet accessible. Of its character, affiliations, 
and sources, therefore, nothing can be said. Following next 
upon this, at least in Melanesia and Austraha, is what has 
been called the Papuan type — still very imperfectly known 
and apparently quite variable in its character. With the rest 
of the mythology of Oceania It presents comparatively little 
in common except in Melanesia, where the later Melanesian 
stratum probably contains a considerable element derived 
from It. Of the sources of this Papuan type little or nothing 
can be said. As the Negrito and Tasmanian strata are fol- 
lowed by the Papuan in Melanesia and Australia, in Indonesia 
the Negrito is succeeded by the Indonesian layer. Unlike the 
Papuan, this has wide affiliations which extend, on the one 
hand, well into south-eastern Asia (i. e. to Assam, Burma, and 
Indo-China), and on the other, to Micronesia, Melanesia, and 
Polynesia. It is at least a plausible hypothesis that the char- 
acteristic myths of this type were spread by a wave or series 
of waves of people who, moving from the Asiatic mainland into 


Indonesia, passed thence, on the one hand, to Micronesia and 
Hawaii, and on the other, through northern Melanesia to 
Polynesia. In the course of its passage along the northern 
shores of New Guinea and through the eastern archipelagos 
this latter stream became profoundly modified and carried 
with it to Polynesia, and especially to New Zealand, a consid- 
erable number of elements which were either directly borrowed 
from the Papuan population or, more probably, were locally 
developed there as a result of Papuan contact and mixture. 
Linguistic and cultural evidences seem to Indicate a long halt 
of the migratory stream in eastern Melanesia, and it is possible 
that the Melanesians, In the strict sense of the term, are in 
origin a blend of the Indonesian migrants with the earlier 
Papuan type. In some such way as this, at any rate, mytho- 
logical elements which were widely spread in Melanesia 
reached western Polynesia and New Zealand at an early date, 
but did not extend to eastern Polynesia and Hawaii. That a 
minor current of this great mythological stream may have 
reached the north-eastern shores of Australia is suggested by 
the presence there of several of its characteristic features; but 
historically this movement may have been much later. An- 
other such minor branch of the main drift may well have 
passed northward from eastern Melanesia to Micronesia, 
bringing to that area its unmistakable Melanesian elements. 

Long subsequent, probably, to this first great drift of In- 
donesian peoples eastward Into the Pacific came a second 
period of movement probably Including both Indonesians proper 
and Malays. This time there seems to have been no migra- 
tion into Micronesia, the whole stream passing eastward along 
the northern coast of New Guinea and the edge of the eastern 
archipelagos, directly Into Polynesia. This immigrant wave, 
although incorporating certain Melanesian features in transit, 
seems to have become less modified than the earlier one. 
After some time had elapsed, during which there was a 
blending of the mythology of the earlier and later types, a 

IX — 21 


branch of the now complex Polynesian peoples passed from 
central Polynesia northward to Hawaii, bringing thither the 
Melanesian elements which had previously been lacking; and 
another branch passed south-west from Tahiti and the Cook 
Group into New Zealand, constituting the traditional immi- 
gration into that island in the fourteenth century. 

Coincident with, or perhaps preceding, the departure of 
the second main wave of peoples from Indonesia, Hindu ele- 
ments penetrated to Sumatra and Java. It is as yet difficult to 
say whether this invasion of Indian culture and peoples was a 
cause of the emigration of the later Polynesian ancestors, but 
it seems probable that some of these latter were slightly in- 
fluenced by Indian contact; and we must also bear in mind 
the possibility that these Hindu and South Indian elements 
may have been transmitted later by trade and other factors. 
Although the influence of Indian beliefs was slight in Melanesia, 
and perhaps negligible in Polynesia, it was strong in Indonesia, 
especially in the west; and while it is still uncertain how far 
the spread of these Asiatic elements was due to early Malay 
movements northward Into the Philippines, these Malay 
migrations seem to have been factors. Last of all comes the 
Muhammadan influence, which has made Itself felt every- 
where In Indonesia except among the wilder interior tribes, 
and whose effects farther eastward appear to be limited to the 
extreme western parts of New Guinea. 

Such, in Its broad outlines, seems to be the history of the 
development of Oceanic mythology. It is by no means im- 
possible that some of the similarities In incident which have 
been cited as evidence of relationships may, after all, be found 
to be of Independent origin. Yet where there Is so much smoke, 
there must be some fire; and the drift of myth elements here 
suggested finds so much to corroborate It in other fields of 
Oceanic culture that we may accept the facts as complying with 
the fundamental rule that similarities, to be really significant, 
must be shown to conform to historically possible movements 


or contacts. We do not, of course, intend for a moment to 
imply that such drifts and transmission of myth elements can 
explain all the mythology of the Oceanic area; for a large pro- 
portion, perhaps the majority, of myths have originated and 
developed within the several sections of the region in which 
they now occur, or are the outgrowth of imported elements 
which have been so profoundly modified that the original 
sources are wholly obscured. Into the question of the several 
curious resemblances between Oceanic and American mythology 
it is impossible to enter here. In large measure they contra- 
vene the rule just emphasized, since there is as yet no unim- 
peachable evidence for migrations between Oceania and 
America or vice versa, or even for definite contact; and such 
data as there are involve us in little more than a series of para- 
doxes. Until such contact or migration has been clearly es- 
tablished, Oceanic mythology must be regarded as essentially 
of Oceanic growth, although considerable elements of Asiatic 
origin have entered into the complex. Its history rests on that 
of the series of ethnic waves which, proceeding from south- 
eastern Asia and its adjacent archipelagos, swept in intricate 
currents to the utmost verge of Oceania, bringing to each 
group and islet in the whole vast area its own peculiar heritage 
of tradition and belief. 



Chapter I 

References given in the Notes refer to the full titles in the Bibliography. Where an 
author has written more than one volume or article, the date following the author's 
name in the note indicates to which of the several works of this author reference is 

1. P. 3- 

2. White, i. 1 8. 

3. Andersen, p. 127 (modified from Shortland, p. 12). 

4. Cf. supra, p. 6. 

5. R. Taylor, p. 109. 

6. For other versions see R. Taylor, p. ill; Cowan, p. 104. 

7. Smith, 1913, p. 136. 

8. Smith, 1913, p. 117. 

9. White, i. 18, 27. 

10. Smith, 1913, p. 117. 

11. Shand, 1894, p. 121; id. 1895, p. 33. 

12. Cf. Shand, 1895, p. 35. 

13. Von den Steinen, pp. 506-07. 

14. Fornander, i. 63. 

15. Yet it may be noted that in Maori mythology Tangaroa is a 
deity in regard to whose origin there is much confusion, for he is 
described both as the son and the brother-in-law of Rangi (see Smith, 
1913, p. 118) and as the son of Te-more-tu ("Ultimate Space") (see 
White, i. 24). This might indicate a belief in the priority of Tangaroa 
over Rangi. 

16. Smith, 1913, pp. no if. 

17. For further discussion of this feature see infra, p. 13. 

18. Moerenhout, i. 419-23 (retranslated in Fornander, i. 221-23). 

19. Ellis, i. 250. 

20. Hongi, pp. 113 fF. 

21. Gill, 1876, pp. I fit. 

22. This is inferred from the brief abstracts of myths given by von 
den Steinen, whose abundant materials have not yet been published. 

23. Bastian, 1881, pp. 69-121. 


24. Bastian, 1881, p. 70. 

25. Perhaps a trace of this sequence of life-forms may be seen in 
the Maori order of creation; see Smith, 1913, p. 136. 

26. Fomander, i. 61 ff. 

27. The more or less detailed creation-myth given by Fomander 
is not to be taken seriously, for it bears too many clear evidences of 
missionary teaching to have any value in this connexion. 

28. Stuebel, p. 59; cf. von Biilow, 1899, pp. 60 ff. 

29. Cf. Marquesas, supra, p. 10, and see also Christian, p. 187. 

30. Turner, 1884, p. 4. 

31. Stuebel, p. 60. For other similar versions see Kramer, 1906, 
p. 515; Turner, 1884, p. 6. 

32. Mariner, passim; Reiter, pp. 236 ff. 

33. Stuebel, pp. 59 ff. Forother versions see Turner, 1 861, pp. 244- 
45; id. 1884, pp. 7 ff. 

34. Cf. the Heaven Father and Earth Mother theme in New Zea- 

35. Turner, 1884, p. 7. 

36. Reiter, pp. 444 ff. 

37. Bovis, p. 45. ^ 

38. Cf. the Maori "lo," and see Smith, 1913, pp. no ff. 

39. Radiguet, pp. 228 ff. 

40. Eraser, 1891, p. 264; also Kramer, 1906, p. 514. 

41. Ellis, i. 251. 

42. Fison, pp. 139 ff. 

43. For discussion of this episode of the fishing up of the land see 
infra, p. 44. 

44. Henry, pp. 51 ff. 

45. Ellis, i. 100; cf. Society Group, Tyerman and Bennett, ii. 175. 

46. Polack, i. 17. This author has, however, been regarded as un- 
reliable, so that this statement must be accepted with caution. 

47. For this type in Samoa see Turner, 1884, p. 7; Society Group, 
Ellis, i. 96, 249; Marquesas, Radiguet, p. 228; Cook Group, Wil- 
liams, p. 81; Hawaii, Fomander, i. 62, 211. 

48. Von den Steinen, p. 507. 

49. White, i. 149, 155. 

50. Another very brief version merely states that Tiki was the 
first man, and Ma-riko-riko ("Glimmer") the first woman, the latter 
being created by Arohi-rohi ("Mirage") from the warmth of the Sun 
and Echo; see White, i. 151. 

51. White, i. 155. 

52. Fomander, i. 62. 

53. Ellis, i. 96. 

54. Shortland, p. 20. 

NOTES 313 

55. White, i. 158.^ 

56. For other variants see White, i. 133, 159, 162; Smith, 1913, 

P- 138- 

57. Ellis, i. 98. Tii is said to be regarded as one with Taaroa, ib. 
p. 99; for still another version see ib. p. 97. 

58. Radiguet, p. 229. 

59. White, i. 21. 

60. Gill, 1876, p. 16. 

61. Garcia, pp. 5 ff. 

62. Bastian, 1881, p. 73. 

63. Cf. the Maori version supra, Note 50, where the first woman is 
formed from the warmth of the Sun and Echo. 

64. Malo, p. 23. 

65. Still another version gives the divine ancestors as Wakea 
(Atea, Vatea) and Papa (Malo, p. 23). 

66. Ellis, i. 98; J. R. Forster, p. 551. 

67. White, i. 154. 

68. White, i. 152. 

69. Turner, 1861, p. 244; for other versions see id, 1884, p. 7; 
Eraser, 1891, p. 274; Kramer, 1906, p. 514; Stuebel, p. 59; Smith, 
1898, p._i53; Stair, 1896, p. 35. 

70. Fison, p. 161. 

71. Cook, ii. 239. 

72. The episode of the origin of man from worms occurs also in 
New Guinea; see Haddon, 1904, p. 17. 

73. Shand, 1894, p. 128. 

74. Stuebel, pp. 75, 145, 151, 155; Abercromby, 1891, p. 460. 

75. For the New Hebrides see Codrington, p. 406; for New Guinea 
(Kuni), see Egidi, 1913, p. 1002; (Jabim) Zahn, p. 373 ; (Kai) Keysser, 
p. 189; (Tami) Bamler, p. 540; New Britain, Meier, 1909, pp. 25, 205; 
Admiralty Islands, id. 1907, p. 651. 

76. Smith, 1902, p. 203. 

77. White, i. 144. Cf. for Borneo, Nieuwenhuis, ii. 113, An origin 
from a tree occurs very commonly in Indonesia, see infra, p. 168, and 
is also reported from New Guinea (Elema), Holmes, p. 126, and from 
Australia, see infra, p. 274. 

78. Smith, 1913, p. 117. 

79. The number of these is given as seventy; see Smith, 1913, 
p. 118. 

80. Smith, 1913, p. 117. 

81. Grey, pp. i ff. 

82. White, i. 46 ff. 

83. For other Maori versions see White, i. 25, 26, 52, 138, 141, 161; 
also Best, p. 115; Wohlers, p. 7; Shortland, p. 20; Smith, 1913, p. 121. 


84. Shand, 1894, p. 121. 

85. Pakoti, p. 66. 

86. For other versions see Gill, 1876, pp. 59, 71; Smith, 1899, 
p. 64. These, however, ascribe at least part of the task to Maui. 
See infra, pp. 50 ff. 

87. Ellis, i. 100; Moerenhout, i. 446. 

88. Bastian, 1894, p. 32; Eraser, 1 891, p. 266; Turner, 1 861, p. 245; 
cf. also Smith, 1903b, p. 98 (Nieue). 

89. Turner, 1884, p. 283. 

90. Malo, p. 36, note 5. 

91. Efate, Macdonald, 1892, p. 731. 

92. Mindanao (Manobo), Beyer, p. 89; (Bagobo) Benedict, p. 16; 
Luzon (Ifugao), Beyer, p. 105. 

93. See infra, p. 178. 

94. See infra, p. 250. 

95. Cook Group, Smith, 1899, pp. 64-71; Gill, 1876, p. 59; Mani- 
hiki, ib. p. 71; Hawaii, Westervelt, 1910, p. 31; Nieue, Smith, 1903b, 
p. 98; Samoa, Pritchard, p. 114; Turner, 1861, p. 246. 

96. White, i. 52. For other versions see ib. i. 25, 49, 138; and cf. 
also, for Hawaii, Fornander, i. 73. 

97. White, i. 49; but cf. Smith, 1913, p. 137. 

98. One account makes the sun the eye of Maui, and the moon that 
of his brother; see Polack, i. 16, 

99. Ellis, i. 97, 250. 
100. Bastian, 1894, p. 32. 
loi. Gill, 1876, p. 3. 

102. Gill, 1876, p. 44; Fraser, 1891, p. j6. 

103. This myth, apparently not recorded elsewhere in Polynesia, 
shows possible resemblances to one from Celebes, according to which 
the sun, moon, and stars were made from the body of a girl; see 
Graafland, i. 232. 

104. Ellis, i. 98; J. R. Forster, p. 539; G. Forster, ii. 151. 

105. Fornander, i. 62, 73. 

106. Ellis, i. 97; cf., for Nauru, Hambruch, p. 382. 

107. Stuebel, p. 59. 

108. Von den Steinen, p. 505. 

109. Turner, 1884, p. 6. 

no. New Hebrides, Codrington, p. 370; Macdonald, 1898, p. 760; 
New Guinea, Seligmann, p. 402; Ker, p. 26; New Britain, Rascher, 
p. 230; Bley, p. 198, 200; Meier, 1909, p. 109. 

111. For other versions see White, i. 25, 26, 52, 145. 

112. White, i. 138, 143; Wohlers, p. 7. 

113. Borneo, St John, i. 213; W. Chalmers (see H. L. Roth, 1896, 

i. 307)- 

NOTES 315 

114. Carolines, Walleser, p. 609. 

115. See infra, pp. 58 ff. 

116. White, i. 55. 

117. White, i. 114. 

118. Grey, p. 61. 

119. Thrum, p. 37; cf. Malo, p. 310. 

120. Fornander, i. 89; cf. also Moerenhout, i. 571. 

121. Gill, 1888, p. 80. 

122. A somewhat similar tale is found in Nias; see infra, p. l8i. 

123. Von Billow, 1895, p. 139. 

124. Von Billow, 1898, p. 81. 

125. White, i. 166, 172. 

126. Fornander, i. 90. 

127. Fornander, i. 91. 

Chapter II 

1. Gill, 1876, p. 51. 

2. White, ii. 64, no, 117, 119, 126; but cf. p. 121. See also Wester- 
velt, 1910, p. 17; Gill, 1876, p. 64. 

3. New Hebrides, Codrington, p. 168; Lamb, p. 215; Suas, 1912, 
pp. 33 ff.; Banks Islands, Codrington, p. 156; New Britain, Rascher, 
p. 233; von Pfeil, p. 150; Kleintitschen, p. 331; Meier, 1909, pp. 15, 
21; German New Guinea (Bilibili), Dempwolff, p. 69. 

4. The relation between these Melanesian tales and the Maui 
cycle in Polynesia is by no means sure. In certain cases, doubtless, 
as in some of the New Hebrides versions, the myths may be com- 
paratively recent importations by Polynesian immigrants, who have 
settled at various points within traditional times. Elsewhere they 
possess too strong a Melanesian flavour to be so easily explained. 

5. White, ii. 63, 71, 92; Grey, p. 18; cf. Nieue, Smith, 1903b, 
pp. 92, 106. 

6. Cf. the Melanesian tale of the child born to the woman aban- 
doned in a tree, in Ker, p. 22. 

7. White, ii. 79, 81. 

8. White, ii. 72. Possibly a reflection of the Biblical story of Cain 
and Abel.? 

9. White, ii. 65, 72, 80; Grey, p. 16. 

10. New Guinea (Goodenough Bay), Ker, p. 23; (Tami) Bamler, 
P' 537; (Nufoor) van Hasselt, p. 523. 

11. Smith, 1903b, p. 94. 

12. White, ii. 69, 100; Grey, p. 38. 

13. Cf. Cook Group, where Vatea baits a hook with a bit of his 
own thigh; Gill, 1876, p. 48. 


14. White, ii. 88. 

15. Westervelt, 1910, pp. 12 ff. 

16. Cf. White, ii. 121. 

17. Marquesas, Christian, p. 188; Lesson, ii. 21 1 ; Tuamotu, 
Young, p. 109; Society Group, Moerenhout, i. 446; Cook Group, 
Smith, 1899, p. 72; Manihiki, Gill, 1876, p. 72; id. 1915, p. 147; Tonga, 
Mariner, i. 228; Lawry, p. 248; Fison, p. 144; Fraser, 1897, p. 71. It 
has not been recorded at all from the Chatham Islands. 

18. Stair, 1896, p. 35; Kramer, 1906, p. 514; cf. also von Biilow, 
1898, p. 81. 

19. Lawrie, p. 712; Macdonald, 1892, p. 731; id. 1898, p. 761. 

20. Smith, 1892, p. 34. 

21. Newell, 1895a, p. 233. 

22. Kleintitschen, p. 336. 

23. Westervelt, 1910, p. 42. For other versions see Forbes, 1881, 
p. 59 (reprinted in Thrum, p. 31). 

24. White, ii. 99. 

25. White, ii. 68, 76, 85; Best, p. 97; Grey, pp. 35 ff. 

26. Marquesas, Lesson, ii. 211 ff.; Manihiki, Gill, 1876, p. 70; 
Society Group, Baessler, 1905, p. 920; Moerenhout, i. 446; Cook 
Group, Gill, 1876, p. 61; Chatham Islands, Shand, 1894, p. 123; 
Samoa, Turner, 1861, p. 248. 

27. New Hebrides, Codrington, p. 368; Suas, 1912, p. 50; Mac- 
donald, 1898, p. 767. 

28. Nauru, Hambruch, p. 435. 

29. Rotti, Jonker, 1905, p. 437. 

30. This incident of cooking food by warming it in the sun's rays 
is also found in Melanesia: New Guinea (Goodenough Bay), Ker, 
p. 99; (Kerepunu) Gill, 191 1, p. 125; Admiralty Islands, Meier, 1907, 
p. 653; it occurs likewise in Indonesia: Philippines (Bagobo), Bene- 
dict, p. 18. 

31. Grey, pp. 22, 45; White, ii. 66, 72, 94. 

32. Some versions state that Maui hid his mother's apron, so that 
she was thus delayed. See Grey, p. 23; White, ii. 72. 

33. One version states that all Mafuike's fingers and toes were thus 
served, after which Maui sent rain to put out her smouldering fire, 
forcing her to reveal the secret of the method of fire-making. See 
White, ii. 74. 

34. Chatham Islands, Shand, 1894, p. 123; Cook Group, Gill, 
1876, pp. 51 ff.; Smith, 1899, p. 73; Marquesas, Radiguet, p. 230; 
Christian, p. 189; Tregear, 1887, p. 385; Manihiki, Gill, 1876, p. 66; 
Samoa, Stair, 1896, p. 56; Fraser, 1891, p. 82; Turner, 1861, p. 253; 
Stuebel, p. 65; Tonga, Lawry, p. 248; Nieue, Turner, op. cit. p. 255; 
Union Group, id. 1884, p. 270. 

NOTES 317 

35. New Guinea (Kai), Keysser, p. 202; New Britain, Rascher, 
p. 234. 

36. See infra, pp. 114 ff., 182 £F. 

37. R. Taylor, p. 156. 

38. Shand, 1896, p. 209. 

39. Leverd, 1912, p. 3. 

40. Seligmann, p. 399. 

41. Hueting, p. 278; van Dijken, p. 279; van Baarda, p. 455. 

42. New Guinea, Seligmann, p. 379; Woodlark Islands, Montrou- 
zier, p. 371; Hagen, p. 288. 

43. Torres Straits, Haddon, 1904, p. 17; New Guinea, Seligmann, 

P- 379- 

44. Nauru, Hambruch, p. 442. 

45. Hambruch, p. 389; Torres Straits, Haddon, 1904, p. 13, 16, 20. 

46. New Guinea, Seligmann, p. 380. 

47. Forbes, 1879, p. 59 (reprinted in Thrum, p. 33); Westervelt, 
1910, pp. 60, 120. 

48. See supra, Note 38. 

49. But of. R. Taylor, p. 115, note. Taylor's material is, however, 
not always wholly trustworthy. 

50. Westervelt, 1910, p. 31; Turner, 1861, p. 245. 

51. While not a parallel, this form of the myth suggests one which 
occurs in the Philippines and New Hebrides, where the sky was so low 
that it interfered with the pounding of rice or the use of the planting 
stick. As a result of this inconvenience to the woman, the sky was 
raised. See infra, p. 178. 

52. Bastian, 1894, p. 32; Fraser, 1891, p. 266. 

53. Society Group, Ellis, i. 100; Cook Group, Pakoti, p. 66; Smith, 
1899, p. 64. 

54. Cook Group, Gill, 1876, p. 59; Manihiki, ib. p. 71. 

55. Samoa, Nieue, Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Mangaia, and Tahiti. 

56. Op. cit. p. 54. For other versions see White, ii. 70. 

57. This version, as well as most others, has been treated euphemis- 
tically; see Smith, 1913, p. 177. 

58. White, ii. 70, 78, 112. 

59. White, ii. 87, 90; Best, p. 96. 

60. Moerenhout, i, 428. 

61. New Hebrides, Suas, 191 1, p. 907; Codrington, pp. 158, 266, 
283, 286; Macdonald, 1892, p. 732; id. 1898, p. 764; Lamb, p. 216; 
New Britain, Kleintitschen, p. 334; Bley, p. 198; New Guinea, 
Romilly, 1889, p. 154. 

62. See infra, p. 182. 

63. White, ii. 89. 

64. Stair, 1896, p. 57; Stuebel, p. 66. 


65. Shand, 1898, p. 81. 

66. White, ii. ']'], 86, iii, 118, 121, 124; Grey, p. 50. 

67. The custom of dragging a canoe over a victim to kill him is 
fairly wide-spread in Polynesia, and is common in Indonesia as an 
incident in the mythology. See for Halmahera (Tobelo), Hueting, 
p. 293; (Galela) van Dijken, p. 274; (Loda) van Baarda, p. 454; 
Celebes (Todjo), Adriani, 1902b, p. 208. 

68. White, ii. 76, 83, 115, 117. 

69. Cf. Admiralty Islands, Meier, 1907, p. 659. 

70. Turner, 1884, pp. 243 ff.; Stuebel, p. 67. 

71. Gill, 1912, p. 128. 

72. Gill, 1876, p. ']']. 

y^. Baessler, 1905, p. 921. 

74. Cf. Westervelt, 1910, pp. 99 ff. This may possibly be regarded 
as a related incident. 

75. New Guinea, Seligmann, pp. 388, 397; Romilly, 1889, p. 100; 
(Nufoor) van Hasselt, p. 520; Admiralty Islands, Meier, 1907, p. 654. 

76. See infra, p. 210. 

jy. Cf. Hawaii, Thrum, p. 256. 

78. New Guinea (Wagawaga), Seligmann, p. 381; (Goodenough 
Bay) Ker, p. 96; (Nufoor) van Hasselt, 493; New Britain, Parkin- 
son, p. 684; Bley, p. 200; New Ireland, Peekel, p. 73; Admiralty 
Islands, Meier, 1907, p. 661. 

79. Nias, Chatelin, p. 117; Philippines (Visayan) Alaxfield and 
Millington, 1906, p. 106. 

Chapter III 

1. White, i. 54 ff.; Grey, pp. 59, 81, 108. 

2. White, i. 82. 

3. The Tahitian versions give a different reason for the death of 
Hema; see Leverd, 191 1, p. 176; id. 1912, p. 7, The Hawaiian ver- 
sion is still different; see Fornander, ii. 17. 

4. In some versions this adventure relates to Tawhaki's grand- 
mother, and not his mother. 

5. By some accounts the meeting with the blind woman takes 
place only after Tawhaki has climbed up to the sky, in which attempt 
his brother, Karihi, falls and is killed. In these versions, Tawhaki 
takes Karihi's eyes with him and gives them to his blind ancestress, 
thus restoring her sight; see White, i. 90, 128. For still different 
methods of restoring the sight, as told in other islands, see for Mani- 
hiki, Gill, 1876, p. 66; Mangaia, ib. p. 113; Nieue, Smith, 1903b, 
p. 94; Tahiti, Leverd, 1912, p. 10; Samoa, Sierich, 1902, p. 178. 

6. For the Hawaiian version of Rata see Thrum, p. iii. 

NOTES 319 

7. Cf. the cannibal bird which carried off Hema in the Hawaiian 
version (Fornander, ii. 16, and note 2), and also the more definite 
description in the Tahitian form (Leverd, 1910, p. 181). There is a 
suggestion here of the giant birds ( garudas F ), sometimes of canni- 
balistic character, which occur in Indonesian tales, e. g., Borneo, 
Sundermann, 1912, p. 183; Halmahera, van Dijken, p. 257. 

8. White, i. 119; Wohlers, p. 15. Cf. for Tahiti Leverd, 191 1, 

p. 175- 

9. Gill, 1876, p. 234; for a Melanesian parallel from the Admiralty 

Islands see Meier, 1907, p. 936. 

10. Romilly, 1893, p. 143. 

11. Leverd, 1911, p. 173; id. 1912, p. i. 

12. For other examples of a sky-deity coming down to marry a mor- 
tal man see Smith, 1910, p. 86. In the Tahitian versions, the way in 
which Hema, the father of Tawhaki, secures his wife is also suggestive 
of the "swan-maiden" theme; see Leverd, 191 2, p. 5; id. 1911, p. 175. 

13. Macdonald, 1892, p. 731; id. 1898, p. 765; Suas, 1912, p. 54; 
Codrington, pp. 172, 397. 

14. Nufoor, van Hasselt, pp. 534, 543. 

15. See infra, pp. 206 ff. 

16. The scatalogic incidents of the Maori myth (White, i. 96) re- 
appear in closely similar form in Tahiti (Gill, 1876, p. 255). 

17. Fornander, i. 191. 

18. Gill, 1876, p. 251; Leverd, 1912, p. n. 

19. Leverd, 1912, p. 9. 

20. See supra, p. 46. 

21. Leverd, 1912, p. 9. 

22. New Hebrides, Suas, 191 2, p. 66; Solomon Islands, Fox and 
Drew, p. 206. 

23. Sumatra (Batak), Pleyte, 1905, p. 352. 

24. Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji, Mariner, ii. 116; New Britain, von 
Pfeil, p. 149; Parkinson, p. 688; Meier, 1909, p. 85; see also Celebes, 
Adriani, 1902b, p. 210. Cf. also Manihiki, Gill, 1915, p. 151. 

25. Kalakaua, p. 476. 

26. Codrington, p. 383, note. 

27. Walleser, p. 616. 

28. New Hebrides, Macdonald, 1898, p. 767; New Guinea (Bili- 
bili), Dempwolff, p. 86; (Kai) Keysser, p. 209. - 

29. Celebes, Hickson, p. 244. 

30. Celebes, Graafland, i. 232. 

31. Fornander, ii. 16. 

32. Fornander, ii. 15, 17, note 2. 

33. Celebes, Adriani, 1910, p. 246; Matthes, p. 434; Philippines 
(Subanun), Christie, p. 96. 


34. White, i. 71. 

35. Smith, 1904, pp. 102 ff. 

36. Westervelt (quoted in JPS xx. 172 [191 1]). 

37. Leverd, 1910, p. 176. 

38. Hawaii, Thrum, p. iii; Tahiti, Leverd, 1910, p. 178; Raro- 
tonga, Savage, p. 147; Mangaia, Gill, 1876, p. 82; Aitutaki, ib. p. 143; 
Samoa, Stuebel, p. 148; Stair, 1895, p. 100; Union Group, Gill, 1912, 
p. 52. In Samoa it is Rata himself who restores the tree when 
others cut it down. 

39. New Caledonia, Lambert, p. 329; Banks Islands, Codrington, 
p. 159; Santa Cruz, O'Ferral, p. 227; New Guinea (Taupota), Selig- 
mann, p. 403; (Kuni) Egidi, 1913, p. 999; (Bilibili) Dempwolff, p. 76; 
(Jabim) Zahn, p. 390; (Tami) Bamler, p. 531. 

40. Borneo, Gomes, p. 311; Philippines (Igorot), Seidenadel, p. 539. 

41. New Guinea (Nufoor), van Hasselt, p. 530. 

42. Halmahera (Loda), van Baarda, p. 409. 

43. Solomon Islands, Codrington, p. 365; Torres Straits, Haddon, 
1904, p. 89; New Caledonia, Lambert, p. 345; Admiralty Islands, 
Meier, 1908, p. 206; New Britain, Meier, 1909, p. 197; New Guinea 
(Jabim), Zahn, p. 362. Cf. also Nauru, Hambruch, p. 426; Halmahera 
(Loda), van Baarda, pp. 427, 469; Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1894, p. 33 ; 
Soemba, Wielenga, p. 251; Sumatra (Achin), Hurgronje, ii. 127. 

44. Torres Islands, Codrington, p. 375; New Britain, Meier, 1909, 
p. 185; New Ireland, Peekel, p. 69. These correspondences are, how- 
ever, somewhat doubtful. 

45. Malays, Brandes, 1894b, p. 63; Sunda, Kern, 1900, p, 376. 

46. Kalakaua, p. 488. 

47. Baessler, 1905, p. 922; Leverd, 1912, p. 2. 

48. New Hebrides, Codrington, p. 402; New Guinea (Moresby), 
Romilly, 1889, p. 125; (Tami) Bamler, p. 535; (Nufoor) van Has- 
selt, p. 526. 

49. Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1902a, p. 461. 

50. White, i. 82, 86; Grey, p. 81. The incident of the visit to 
Rehua is also told of Tane; see White, i. 134, 145. 

51. Gill, 1876, p. 88. 

52. Shand, 1895, p. 39, note. 

53. Westervelt, 1910, p. 125. 

54. (Sulka) Rascher, p. 230. 

55. Meier, 1908, p. 197. 

56. Tahiti, Leverd, 1912, p. 8; Hawaii, Kalakaua, p. 478; Celebes 
(Minahassa), Hickson, p. 311; P. N. Wilken, p. 324; Halmahera 
(Tobelo), Hueting, pp. 76, 161. 

57. White, ii. 4; Smith, 1913, p. 182. 

58. White, i. 131, 136, 145; Wohlers, p. 9. 

NOTES 321 

59. See supra, pp. 23 -ff. 

60. Cf. the remarkable parallel in Japan, Chamberlain, p. 34. 

61. White, i. 147. 

62. Gill, 1876, p. 221. 

63. Thrum, p. 43; J. S. Emerson, p. 37; cf. New Zealand, Hongi, 
1896, p. 118. 

64. Cf. Thrum, p. 86. 

65. Cf. Halmahera (Loda), van Baarda, p. 433; also perhaps New- 
Guinea (Bilibili), Dempwolff, p. 70; (Jabim) Zahn, p. 389; (Tami) 
Bamler, p. 530. 

66. Cf. Banks Islands, Codrington, p. 277. 

67. Cf. New Zealand, Hongi, 1896, p. 119. 

68. White, ii. 163; see also Hongi, 1896, p. 118. 

69. See supra, p. 42. 

70. Banks Islands, Codrington, p. 277; New Hebrides, ib. p. 286; 
cf. also New Guinea (Kai), Keysser, pp. 204, 237; Celebes (Mina- 
hassa), P. N. Wilken, p. 330. This incident does not seem to have 
been recorded elsewhere in Polynesia; but the reverse idea, that the 
eating of earthly food is fatal to denizens of the underworld, is known 
from Tonga; see Mariner, ii. 115. 

71. One may perhaps compare this with the use of the method of 
bending and snapping back a tree to kill an enemy in the following 
places: Banks Islands, Codrington, p. 165; New Hebrides, Suas, 
191 2, p. 66; Halmahera (Loda), van Baarda, p. 441. 

72. Stuebel, p. 151. 

73. Efate, Macdonald, 1898, p. 765. 

74. Codrington, p. 277. 

75. (Kai) Keysser, p. 213. 

76. White, ii. 9, 12. 

yj. Cf. supra, p. 72 and White, ii. 32. 

78. Gill, 1876, p. 265. 

79. Smith, 1903b, p. 102. 

80. Romilly, 1893, p. 144. 

81. OTerral, p. 231. 

82. Marshall Islands, Erdland, p. 243. Cf. also Malay Peninsula, 
Skeat and Blagden, ii. 336; India, Kathasaritsagara, tr. C. H. Tawney, 
Calcutta, 1880, i. 227. 

83. White, ii. 37. 

84. See supra, p. 73. 

85. White, ii. 141; cf. Grey, p. 99. 

86. Cf. supra, p. 70. 

87. Cf. supra, p. 68. 

88. For other versions of this tale see White, ii. 127; Grey, p. 9. 

89. White, ii. 167. 

IX 22 


90. Cf. supra, p. 62. 

91. This incident of inanimate objects replying in place of a fugi- 
tive seems not to be recorded elsewhere in Polynesia. It is, however, 
known in Melanesia: New Guinea (Goodenough Bay), Ker, p. 32; 
(Cape King William) Stolz, p. 274; (Jabim) Zahn, p. 337; (Nufoor) 
van Hasselt, p. 526; New Ireland, Peekel, p. 29. It also occurs in 
Funafuti, David, p. 102, and widely in Indonesia: Halmahera (Ga- 
lela), van Dijken, p. 264; (Loda) van Baarda, pp. 434, 455; (To- 
belo) Hueting, p. 120; Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1894, p. 55; Celebes 
(Toradja), Adriani, 1898, p. 373; Philippines (Bagobo), Benedict, 

P- 43- 

92. Grey, p. 123. 

93. Halmahera (Galela), van Dijken, p. 207; Celebes (Toradja), 
Adriani, 1902a, p. 407; (Minahassa) P. N. Wilken, p. 382; Riedel, 
1869c, p. 314; Philippines (Visayan), Maxfield and Millington, 1907, 
p. 317; Bayliss, p. 47; (Bagobo) Benedict, p. 60; (Tinguian) Cole, 
1915, p. 195; Marshall Islands, Erdland, p. 247; Borneo (Kenya), 
Hose and Macdougal, ii. 148; India, Jdtaka, No. 543. 

94. White, ii. 20. 

95. White, ii. 21. 

96. Gill, 1876, p. 45. 

97. Nakuina, p. loi (reprinted in Thrum, p. 133). • 

98. Celebes (Tontemboan), Juynboll, p. 323. 

99. Gilbert Islands, Kramer, p. 434. 
100. New Guinea (Kai), Keysser, p. 215. 

loi. Halmahera (Loda), van Baarda, p. 467; Sangir Islands, Ad- 
riani, 1894, p. 64; Rotti, Jonker, 1905, 413; Java (Bantam), Pleyte, 
1910, p. 135; Philippines (Igorot), Seidenadel, p. 562. 

102. New Britain (Sulka), Rascher, p. 234. 

103. Forbes, 1882, p. 36 (reprinted in Thrum, p. 63). 

104. New Britain (Gazelle Peninsula), Kleintitschen, p. 339; 
Meier, 1909, p. 211. 

105. Nauru, Hambruch, p. 406. 


Chapter I 

1. Meier, 1907, p. 650. 

2. Cf. Indonesia, infra, pp. 159 ff. 

3. Kleintitschen, p. 336. 

4. Efate, Macdonald, 1892, p. 731; Aneityum, Lawrie, pp. 


5. Meier, 1907, p. 652. 

6. Codrington, pp. 157 flf. 

NOTES 323 

7. For other instances, see infra^ p. 174. 

8. Codrington, p. 158. 

9. Lepers Island, Suas, 1912, p. 45. 

10. Gazelle Peninsula, Meier, 1909, p. 15. 

11. Meier, 1909, p. 21. 

12. Meier, 1907, p. 651. 

13. Meier, loc. cit. 

14. Williams and Calvert, p. 197. 

15. Haddon, p. 17; cf., for origin from eggs, Indonesia, infra, p. 169. 

16. Meier, loc. cit. 

17. Cf. Polynesia: Samoa, Abercromby, 1891, p. 460; Stuebel, 
pp. 75, 145, 151; Chatham Island, Shand, 1894, p. 128; Indonesia: 
Philippines (Tinguian), Cole, 1915, pp. 15, 63, 68, 71, 83, 125, etc.; 
Alicronesia: Marshall Group, Erdland, p. 311. 

18. Gazelle Peninsula, Meier, 1909, p. 25; cf. also ib. p. 205. 

19. Cf. Indonesia, Philippines (Tinguian), Cole, 1915, pp. 15, 62, 
68, etc.; and Micronesia, infra, p. 251. 

20. Cf. New Guinea (Kuni), Egidi, 1913, p. 1002. 

21. New Guinea (Jabim), Zahn, p. 373; (Tami) Bamler, p. 540. 

22. Malanta, Codrington, p. 21. 

23. Cf. Indonesia, infra, p. 168. 

24. Parkinson, p. 685; Kleintitschen, p. 332; Meier, 1909, p. 35; 
O. Meyer, p. 713. 

25. Cf. Indonesia, infra, pp. 218 ff. 

26. Holmes, p. 126. 

27. Codrington, p. 26. 

28. Bley, p. 198. 

29. Codrington, p. 156. 

30. (Simbang) Hagen, p. 289. 

31. Bley, p. 198. 

32. Cf. Bley, p. 200; also Gazelle Peninsula, Meier, 1909, p. 109; 
(Sulka) Rascher, p. 230; New Guinea (Goodenough Bay), Ker, p. 26; 
(Taupota) Seligmann, p. 403; New Hebrides, Codrington, pp. 370, 
372; Macdonald, 1898, p. 760; Samoa, Turner, 1884, p. 6; Malay 
Peninsula, Skeat and Blagden, ii. 339. 

33. Meier, 1907, p. 650. 

34. (Moresby) Romilly, 1889, p. 136. 

35. (Bogadjim) Hagen, p. 288. 

36. Montrouzier, p. 369 (reprinted in Haddon, 1894, p. 318). 

37. Cf. Australia, infra, p. 275. 

38. Seligmann, p. 378. 

39. Cf. Fiji, Williams and Calvert, p. 171; Polynesia, Cook Group, 
Gill, 1876, p. 10; Society Group, Moerenhout, i. 426; and Indonesia, 
infra, p. 234. 


40. Cf. Fiji, Fison, pp. 34, 50; Samoa, Fraser, 1891, p. 243. 

41. Cf. Solomon Islands (Ysabel), Codrington, p. 366; Celebes 
(Minahassa), Hickson, pp. 311, 317; P, N. Wilken, p. 328. 

42. Cf. New Britain (Sulka), Rascher, p. 235; New Guinea (Kuni), 
Egidi, 191 3, p. 990. 

43. Codrington, p. 156. 

44. Lawes, p. 371; cf. Chalmers, p. 118; Gill, 1911, pp. 120, 126; 
Ker, p. 99; Torres Straits, Haddon, 1904, p. 17; Admiralty Islands, 
Meier, 1907, p. 659. 

45. Cf. Philippines (Igorot), Beyer, p. 96; Seidenadel, p. 486. 

46. Seligmann, p. 379. 

47. Cf. New Guinea (Daudai), Beardmore and Haddon, p. 462; 
Torres Straits, Haddon, 1904, p. 17; and widely in Polynesia, see 
supra, 47 ff. 

48. Cf. Polynesia, supra, p. 47. 

49. Meier, 1907, p. 654; cf. ib. pp. 653, 656. 

50. Cf. New Britain (Gazelle Peninsula), Meier, 1909, p. 37; New 
Guinea (Goodenough Bay), Ker, p. 149. 

51. (Sulka) Rascher, p. 234; cf. New Guinea (Kai), Keysser, p. 202. 

52. Suas, 191 1, p. 907. 

53. Cf. Codrington, pp. 169, 286; Macdonald, 1892, p. 731; Lamb, 
p. 216. 

54. Codrington, p. 265 (cf. ib. pp. 283, 286); Suas, 1912, p. 44; 
Macdonald, 1898, p. 764; Solomon Islands, Codrington, pp. 260, 
365; New Guinea (Kai), Keysser, pp. 162, 236; New Britain (Gazelle 
Peninsula), Meier, 1909, p. 37; Kleintitschen, p. 334; Admiralty 
Islands, Meier, 1908, p. 193. 

55. Codrington, p. 265. 

56. Bley, p. 198; cf. Gazelle Peninsula, Meier, 1909, p. 107; Ad- 
miralty Islands, Meier, 1908, p. 194. 

57. Meier, 1908, p. 194; cf. New Britain (Gazelle Peninsula), 
Kleintitschen, p. 334; New Guinea (Moresby), Romilly, 1889, p. 154. 

58. (Goodenough Bay) Ker, p. 30. 

59. Ker, p. 52. 

60. Cf. Fiji, Fison, p. 29. 

61. See infra, pp. 180 ff. 

62. Gill, 1912, pp. 61 ff. 

Chapter II 

1. Cf. for Micronesia, Pelew Islands, Kubary, p. 47. 

2. Meier, 1909, p. 27. 

3. Cf. New Guinea (Kai), Keysser, p. 187; Philippines (Tagalog), 
Gardner, p. 104; Celebes (Minahassa), Graafland, i. 165; Sumbawa, 

NOTES 325 

Jonker, 1903, p. 251; Malay Peninsula (Perak), Anonymous, 1907a, 

P- 73- 

4. Cf. New Guinea (Goodenough Bay), Ker, p. 136. 

5. Meier, 1909, p. 59. 

6. Meier, 1909, pp. 13-81; von Pfeil, p. 150 ff.; Kleintitschen, 
p. 331; (Sulka) Rascher, p. 233. 

7. (Bilibili) Dempwolff, pp. 69-81. 

8. Cf. Ker, pp. 136 ff. 

9. Yet cf. New Guinea (Wagawaga), Seligmann, p. 379. 

10. Codrington, p. 156. 

11. Cf. New Zealand, White, ii. 64, no, 117, etc.; Tonga, Mariner, 
ii. no. 

12. See supra, p. 104. 

13. Codrington, p. 158. 

14. This incident of the tree made whole is very widely distributed 
through the whole of Oceania. For other examples in Melanesia see 
Santa Cruz, OTerral, p. 227; New Caledonia, Lambert, p. 329; New 
Guinea (Kuni), Egidi, 1913, p. 999; (Taupota) Seligmann, p. 403; 
(Huon Gulf and Bilibili) Dempwolff, p. 76; (Tami) Bamler, p. 531; 
(Jabim) Zahn, p. 390; for Polynesian examples see supra, p. 60 and 
Part I, Chapter III, Note 38; for Indonesia see Borneo, Gomes, 
p. 311; Philippines (Igorot), Seidenadel, p. 539; for Micronesia see 
Erdland, p. 245. 

15. Codrington, p. 159. 

16. Codrington, pp. 160 ff. 

17. Aurora, Codrington, p. 168. 

18. Whitsuntide, Codrington, p. 169. 

19. Codrington, p. 171. 

20. Cf. Ambrym, Suas, 1911, p. 906. 

21. Codrington, p. 170. 

22. Suas, 1912, pp. 34 ff. 

23. For other examples of the inexhaustible vessel of food see 
Aurora, Codrington, p. 168; New Britain, Bley, p. 215; Tonga, 
Fison, p. 81; Borneo (Dusun), Evans, p. 462; (Sea Dyak) Perham, 
1886, p. 278; Philippines (Tinguian), Cole, 1915, pp. 34, 119; (Igo- 
rot) Jenks, p. 201; Rotti, Jonker, 1906, p. 410; Pelew Islands, Ku- 
bary, p. 45. _ 

24. Cf. Micronesia, infra, p. 260. In New Britain (Gazelle Penin- 
sula) we also find the belief that the evil or foolish brother is killed 
by the good; cf. Kleintitschen, p. 336. 

25. Cf. the similarity between Panggu or Panku, the creator deity 
among the Tami and Kai people of New Guinea (see Keysser, pp. 155, 
192), and Panku, the cosmic creator deity of the Chinese. It is pos- 
sible (.^) that this is the result of Chinese contact in recent times. 


Chapter III 

1. Rascher, pp. 230 ff. 

2. Cf. New Guinea (Kai), Keysser, p. 179; (Goodenough Bay) 
Ker, p. 123; Seligmann, p. 414; (Moresby) Romilly, 1889, p. 121; 
(Kuni) Egidi, 1913, p. 992; Santa Cruz, O'Ferral, p. 232; New 
Hebrides (Aurora), Codrington, p. 403; Polynesia, Funafuti, David, 
p. 107; New Zealand, Shand, 1896, p. 197; Chatham Islands, ib. 
p. 195; Manihiki, Te Whitu, p. 97; cf. also Indonesia, Philippines 
(Subanun), Christie, p. 102. 

3. Aurora, Codrington, p. 398. 

4. Cf. Banks Islands, Codrington, p. 395, note; New Ireland, 
Peekel, pp. 45, 51. 

5. For other instances of the life-token see Torres Straits, Had- 
don, 1904, p. 34; New Guinea (Goodenough Bay), Ker, p. 61; In- 
donesia, Halmahera (Loda), van Baarda, p. 484; Soemba, Wielenga, 
p. 61; Philippines (Tinguian), Cole, 1915, p. 96. 

6. Cf. for the incident of killing the cannibal or monster with hot 
stones New Guinea (Moresby), Romilly, 1889, p. 125; (Tami) 
Bamler, p. 535; (Nufoor) van Hasselt, p. 526; Indonesia, Celebes 
(Toradja), Adriani, 1902a, p. 461 ; Philippines (Tinguian), Cole, 191 5, 
p. 199; Polynesia, see supra, p. 69. 

7. Zahn, p. 337. 

8. Zahn, p. 340. 

9. Cf. Indonesia, infra, p. 188; also Admiralty Islands, Parkin- 
son, p. 713; New Guinea (Kuni), Egidi, 1913, p. 997. 

10. See supra, p. 130. 

11. New Guinea (Goodenough Bay), Ker, p. 21. 

12. Cf. New Guinea (Tami), Bamler, p. 537; Philippines (Tin- 
guian), Cole, 191 5, p. 96; Marshall Group, Erdland, p. 279; New 
Zealand, Wohlers, p. 10. 

13. See supra, p. 64. 

14. See infra, pp. 206 ff. 

15. Codrington, p. 172; Suas, 1912, p. 54; cf. Efate, Macdonald, 
1892, p. 731; id. 1898, p. 765; Aurora, Codrington, loc. cit.; Banks 
Islands, ib. p. 397; New Guinea (Bilibili), Dempwolff, p. 82. 

16. Cf. the tales of sky-people who come down to fish, Santa Cruz, 
O'Ferral, p. 231; Rotumah, Romilly, 1893, p. 143. 

17. Cf. New Guinea (Nufoor), van Hasselt, p. 535; Philippines 
(Viscayan), Maxfield and Alillington, 1907, p. 96; Sumatra (Batak), 
Pleyte, 1894, p. 125; (Achin) Hurgronje, ii. 126; Annam, Landes, 
1886, p. 123. It is possible that there is something more than a co- 
incidence in the resemblance of the name by which the swan-maidens 

NOTES 327 

are known in Lepers Island, vinmara, to their Sanskrit prototypes, 
the vidhyadharas. 

18. Suas, 1912, p. 54. 

19. Cf. Efate, Macdonald, 1898, p. 764; Aurora, Codrington, 
p. 398; Whitsuntide, ib. p. 169; Torres Islands, ib. p. 375; New- 
Guinea (Tami), Bamler, p. 532; (Jabim) Zahn, p. 390. The dis- 
tribution of this incident of the arrow-chain in the North Pacific area, 
particularly upon the American coast, is a feature of considerable 
interest. See F. Boas, Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen 
Kiiste Jmerikas, Berlin, 1895, pp. 17, 31, 64, 117, 157, 173, 215, 234, 
246, 278; also Mythology of all Races, Boston, 1916, x. 255. 

20. Gazelle Peninsula, Meier, 1909, p. 85. 

21. Cf. New Hebrides (Tanna), Gray, p. 657; Torres Straits, Had- 
don, 1904, p. 89; New Guinea (Kai), Keysser, p. 164; (Nufoor) van 
Hasselt, p. 571; Indonesia, see infra, p. 226. 

22. Cf. Parkinson, p. 688; Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa, Mariner, ii. 
116; Manihiki, Gill, 1915, p. 151; Celebes (Todjo), Adriani, 1902b, 
p. 210. 

23. (Bukaua) Lehner, p. 480. 

24. For other examples of the belief that dawn or daylight drives 
away ghosts and spirits or makes them assume another form see 
infra, p. 144 and also New Guinea (Kai), Keysser, pp. 163, 199, etc.; 
(Goodenough Bay) Ker, p. 76; New Hebrides, Codrington, p. 409; 
New Zealand, Grey, p. 66. 

25. Cf. (Tami) Bamler, p. 526; (Jabim) Zahn, p. 369; (Good- 
enough Bay) Ker, p. 59; Torres Straits, Haddon, 1904, p. 24. 

26. Keysser, p. 197. 

27. Cf. Keysser, p. 233. 

28. (Ureparapara), Codrington, p. 360; cf. also Indonesia, infra, 
p. 194. 

29. Codrington, p. 364. 

30. Goodenough Bay, Ker, p. 3. 

31. Gazelle Peninsula, Meier, 1909, p. 285. 

32. Cf. Australia, infra, p. 288. 

Chapter I 

1. Beyer, p. 99, note 34, and passim. 

2. Schmidt, 1906, passim. 

3. See Note 47, infra. 

4. G. A. Wilken, 1884, p. 232; Kruijt, 1906, p. 467. 


5. Riedel, 1886, p. 217; Pleyte, 1893, p. 563. 

6. The first portion of this myth, i.e. the incident of the lost 
fish-hook and its recovery, is in one form or other widely spread 
in Indonesia, outside the Kei Islands occurring also in Halmahera, 
Soemba, Celebes, and Sumatra. It is likewise known from Japan 
(Chamberlain, pp. 119 ff.) and the North-West coast of America (see 
F. Boas, Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Kilste Amerikas, 
Berlin, 1895, pp. 94, 99, 149, 190, 238, 254, 289, and cf. S. T. Rand, 
Legends of the Micmacs, New York, 1894, p. 87). 

7. Schwarz and Adriani, ii. 397 ff. 

8. Schwarz and Adriani, ii. 389; cf. ib. p. 377, and Graafland, i. 
211; Kruijt, 1906, p. 47; Juynboll, p. 327. 

9. Cf. Loeang-Sermata, Riedel, 1886, p. 312; Formosa, Davidson, 
pp. 578 ff. 

10. Probably the sky-world. 

11. Reiter, p. 236. 

12. Bastian, 1894, P- I0» cf. also Union Group, Hutchin, p. 173. 

13. Banks Islands, Codrington, p. 156. 

14. Furness, p. 6. 

15. Cf. Samoa, von Biilow, 1899, p. 61. 

16. Nieuwenhuis, i. 129. 

17. Cf. Nauru, Hambruch, p. 381. 

18. For still another version see Nieuwenhuis, ii. 113. 

19. Schwaner, i. 177. 

20. A serpent with a precious stone in or on its head frequently 
appears in Indonesian tales: Celebes (Central), Adriani and Kruijt, 
p. 158; Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1894, p. 33. It is common also 
among the Malays of the Peninsula (Malacca, Skeat, 1900, p. 303) 
and is widely current in India (Crooke, ii. 143). From its distribu- 
tion it seems clear that the idea was introduced into Indonesia from 
Indian sources. 

21. Cf. Schwaner, i. 177. 

22. Hupe, p. 138. 

23. Schwaner, loc. cit. 

24. Warneck, p. 28; cf. Kodding, p. 405; Pleyte, 1894, p. 52; 
id. 1895, p. 103. _ 

25. Other versions say the three sons were bom from three eggs 
laid by a giant butterfly and that they received their wives from 
Mula Dyadi, who sent them down from above. 

26. Van der Tuuk, p. 48; Pleyte, 1894, p. 56. 

27. Westenberg, p. 214; de Haan, p. 14; Pleyte, 1894, p. 82. 

28. See supra, p. 18. 

29. Mindanao (Bilaan), Cole, 1913, p. 136. 

30. See supra, p. 18. 

NOTES 329 

31. See supra, p. 18, 

32. Carolines, Walleser, p. 610. 

33. Kramer, p. 514; Fraser, 1891, p. 264. 

34. Reiter, p. 444; cf. also Society Group, Bovis, p. 45; Philip- 
pines, Fraser, 1897, p. 26. 

35. Sundermann, 1884, p. 449. 

36. See supra, p. 29. 

37. Von Billow, 1899, p. 61. 

38. See supra, p. 21. 

39. Cf. the myth of the origin of man, as given from the Society 
Group, supra, pp. 26 ff. 

40. Van Eerde, p. 39. 

41. Donleben and Christie, p. 175; cf. also Horner, p. 368. 

42. Mindanao (Mandaya), Cole, 1913, p. 173; cf. also (Tagalog) 
Gardner, p. 112. 

43. Riedel, 1869a, p. 265. 

44. Agerbeek, p. 153. 

45. Igorot, Beyer, p. 94; Seidenadel, p. 487; Jenks, p. 201; Ifugao, 
Beyer, pp. loi, 113. 

46. White, i. 130; Smith, 1913, p. 144; Shortland, p. 22; Wohlers, 

47. E. Lunet de Lajonquiere, Ethnographie du Tonkin septentrional, 
Paris, 1906, pp. 234, 262; S. R. Clarke, Among the Tribes in South- 
West China, London, 191 1, pp. 43 ff.; P. Vial, Les Lolos; Histoire, 
mceurs, langue et ecriture, Shanghai, 1898 (quoted in T'oung Pao, 
II. viii. 666 ff. [1907]); C. Gilhodes, "Mythologie et religion des 
Kachins," in Anthropos, iii. 683 ff. (1908). 

48. This incident also occurs in the Loeang-Sermata Group; see 
Riedel, 1886, p. 311. 

• 49. Kramer, p. 516; Sierich, 1902, p. 167. 

50. Fison, p. 33. 

51. Dunn, p. 16. 

52. Horsburgh, p. 20; McDougall, p. 27. 

53. Apparently traceable to Muhammadan and Indian influences; 
see G. A. Wilken, 1884, p. 247; and, for an opposite opinion, Schmidt, 
1910, p. 7, note 6. 

54. Riedel, 1886, pp. 312, 367. 

55. See supra, p. 156. 

56. Riedel, 1886, passim. 

57. See supra, p. 159. 

58. Chatelin, p. 1 10; Sundermann, 1884, p. 449; Modigliani, p. 614. 

59. Riedel, 1886, p. 90. 

60. Riedel, 1886, p. 217. 

61. Riedel, 1886, p. 275. 


62. See supra, p. 157. 

63. Nieuwenhuisen and Rosenberg, p. 108. 

64. Chatelin, p. no; Sundermann, 1884, p. 349; Lagemann, 
pp. 341 ff. 

65. See previous note. 

66. Beyer, p. loi. 

67. Riedel, 1886, pp. 190, 2l8, 247, 275, 289. 

68. Riedel, 1886, p. 148. 

69. Riedel, 1886, p. 32. 

70. Riedel, 1886, p. 3. 

71. Riedel, 1886, p. 431. 

72. Taylor, p. 197. 

73. Hickson, p. 246. 

74. Marsden, p. 302. 

75. Furness, p. 7; Nieuwenhuis, ii. 113. 

76. Schwaner, i. 178. 

77. Sundermann, 1884, p. 449. 

78. Riedel, 1886 (Amboina), p. 32; Ceram, ib, p. 89; Gorrom, ib. 
p. 148; Aru Islands, ib. p. 247; Leti, ib. p. 367. 

79. Riedel, 1886, p. 190. 

80. Riedel, 1886, p. 218. 

81. Cf. New Guinea (Elema), Holmes, p. 126. 

82. Pleyte, 1895, p. 103. 

83. Mindanao (Mandaya), Cole, 191 3, p. 173. 

84. Schwaner, i. 177 ff. 

85. Pleyte, 1894, p. 52. 

86. See supra, p. 157. 

87. Taylor, p. 122; Davidson, pp. 578, 580. 

88. Beyer, p. 112. 

89. Perez, p. 319; Beyer, pp. 94, 96; Jenks, p. 201; Seidenadel, 
p. 485. 

90. Cole, 1913, p. 173. 

91. Beyer, p. loi. 

92. See supra, p. 164. 

93. Gardner, p. 112. 

94. Agerbeek, p. 156. 

95. (Bantik) Riedel, 1869a, p. 266. 

96. Kruijt, 1906, p. 471; (Loda) van Baarda, p. 444. 

97. Hickson, p. 246. 

98. Benedict, p. 15. 

99. Pleyte, 1894, p. 61. 
100. Schwaner, i. 179. 
loi. Kruijt, 1906, p. 469. 
102. Kruijt, 1894, p. 339. 

NOTES 331 

103. Furness, p. ii. 

104. Dunn, p. 16. 

105. Horsburgh, p. 20; cf. also McDougall, p. 27. 

106. Evans, p. 423. 

107. Cole, 1913, p. 137. 

108. For vivification by whipping cf. Soemba, Wielenga, pp. 45, 65, 

109. Cole, 1913, p. 164. 
no. Seidenadel, p. 487. 

111. Chatelin, p. no. 

112. Excrement, Borneo, Sundermann, 191 2, p. 172; skin-scurf, 
Philippines, Cole, 1913, p. 135. 

113. Nieuwenhuis, i. 131. 

114. Furness, p. 7. 

115. Schwaner, i. 180. 

116. Cf. the Dusun, in British North Borneo, who declare that 
animals as well as plants were made from the body of the grandchild 
of the two great gods (see Evans, p. 478). 

117. Beyer, p. 109. 

118. Cole, 1913, p. 172. 

119. Nieuwenhuis, i. 130. 

120. Minahassa, Graafland, i. 232. 

121. Cf. the Rarotongan myth in Polynesia (Fraser, 1891, p. 76). 

122. Sundermann, 1884, p. 452; Chatelin, p. 114. 

123. Cf. Mangaia (Cook Group), where they are the eyes of Vatea 
(see Gill, 1876, p. 3). 

124. Beyer, p. 105. 

125. Cf. the sky-cannibals In Maori mythology, supra, p. 62. 

126. Beyer, p. 105. 

127. Beyer, p. 89, 105. 

128. Benedict, p. 16. It is interesting to find the very same tale 
in the New Hebrides (see Macdonald, 1892, p. 731). 

129. McDougall, p. 27; Fomander, i. 69. 

130. Evans, p. 433. 

131. Hupe, p. 136; Sundermann, 1912, p. 172. 

132. Chatelin, p. 114, 

133. Riedel, 1886, p. 311. 

134. Beyer, p. 100. 

135. Beyer, p. 112. 

136. Jenks, p. 201; Seidenadel, p. 485; Beyer, p. 95; Perez, p. 319. 

137. Cole, 1915, p. 189. 

138. Cole, 1913, p. 164. 

139. Cole, 1913, p. 173. 

140. Dunn, p. 17; cf. also Hose and Macdougal, ii. 144. 


141. Evans, p. 469. 

142. A similar tale occurs also among the Sea Dyaks (see Perham, 
in H. L. Roth, 1896, i. 301). 

143. Chatelin, p. 115. 

144. See supra, pp. 51 ff. 

145. Evans, p. 478. 

146. Immortality by casting the skin, as in the case of the snake, 
is a wide-spread conception, and is especially common in Melanesia 
(see Part II, Chapter I, Note 54). That immortality was offered to 
man, but that he failed to hear and come and get the gift, is an idea 
also found in Melanesia (see New Britain, Bley, p. 198). 

147. Chatelin, p. 114. 

148. See supra, pp. 170 ff. 

149. Beyer, p. 96; Seidenadel, p. 485. 

150. Torres Straits, Haddon, 1904, p. 17; New Guinea (Moresby), 
Lawes, p. 371; (Kiwai) Chalmers, p. 118. 

151. Beyer, p. 102. 

152. See supra, pp. 47 ff. 

153. Kruijt, 1894, p. 341. 

154. Furness, p. 8. 

155. Furness, p. 12. 

156. Cf. Nauru, Hambruch, p. 442. 

Chapter II 

1. Brandes, 1894a, p. 35; Bezemer, p. 87. 

2. For other versions in which the tortoise so tricks the ape see 
Sunda, Kern, 1900, p. 367; Kangean Islands, van Ronkel, p. 71; 
Cham, Landes, 1900, pp. 235 ff.; Annam, id. 1886b, p. 115; Cam- 
bodia, Aymonier, pp. 30 ff. 

3. Brandes, 1894a, p. 35. For other versions see Sunda, Kern, 
1900, p. 367; Sumatra (Achin), Hurgronje, ii. 163; (Lampong) van 
Ophuijsen, pp. 129, 140; Kangean Islands, van Ronkel, p. 72; Borneo, 
Westenek, 1899, p. 198; (Milanau) Low, i. 347; (Bajau) Evans, 
p. 474; Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1902a, p. 392; Sangir Islands, 
Adriani, 1893, pp. 359, 367, 386; Halmahera (Galela), van Dijken, 
p. 205; Cham, Landes, 1900, pp. 235 if. 

4. Brandes, 1894a, p. 36; Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1893, pp. 368, 
385; Cham, Landes, 1900, pp. 235 ff.; Cambodia, loc. cit.; Annam, 
id. 1886b, p. 215. 

5. This is the Sundanese version, Kern, 1900, p. 366; Brandes, 
1894b, p. 382. For other versions see Sumatra (Achin), Hurgronje, 
ii. 163; (Lampong) van Ophuijsen, p. 128; Malay, Brandes, loc. cit.; 

NOTES 333 

Borneo, Westenek, 1899, p. 199; (Milanau) Low, i. 347; (Bajau) 
Evans, p. 474; Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1902a, p. 392; (Tontem- 
boan) Juynboll, p. 317; Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1893, p. 359; Hal- 
mahera (Galela), van Dijken, p. 206; Cham, Landes, 1900, pp. 235 ff.; 
Cambodia, Aymonier, pp. 30 ff.; Annam, Landes, 1886b, p. 116. 

6. Westenek, 1899, p. 195. For other versions see Crossland, 
i. 343; (Bajau) Evans, p. 471; Java, Brandes, 1894a, p. 37; Sunda, 
Kern, 1900, p. 374; Sumatra (Lampong), van Ophuijsen, p. 129; 
Malay, Brandes, 1894b, p. 62; Celebes (Minahassa), Louwerier, 1876, 
p. 58; (Toradja) Adriani, 1898, p. 365; Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1893, 
p. 393; Halmahera (Galela), van Dijken, p. 210. 

7. See supra, p. 134. 

8. Admiralty Islands, Parkinson, p. 713; New Guinea (Kuni), 
Egidi, 1913, p. 997. 

9. Java, Brandes, 1894a, pp. 40, 133. For other versions see 
Borneo (Milanau), Low, i. 347; (Dusun) Evans, p. 477; Philippines 
(Visayan), Maxfield and Millington, 1907, p. 313; Cham, Landes, 
1900, pp. 235 ff.; Cambodia, Aymonier, pp. 30 ff. 

10. Java, Brandes, 1894a, p. 39. For other versions see ib. pp. 47, 
134, 140; Sunda, Kern, 1900, p. 359; Sumatra (Achin), Hurgronje, 
ii. 163; (Lampong) van Ophuijsen, p. 126; Borneo, Westenek, 1899, 
p. 201; (Bajau) Evans, p. 475; Celebes (Minahassa), Louwerier, 
1876, p. 66; (Toradja) Adriani, 1902a, p. 390; Halmahera (Galela), 
van Dijken, p. 199; Japan, Serrurier, in Adriani, 1898, p. 344, note. 

11. Java, Brandes, 1894a, p. 39; Winsedt, p. 63; Sunda, Kern, 1900, 
p. 359; Sumatra (Achin), Hurgronje, ii. 63; (Lampong) van Ophuij- 
sen, p. 127; (Batak) van der Tuuk, p. 215; Pleyte, 1894, p. 267; 
Borneo, Westenek, 1899, p. 200; (Bajau) Evans, p. 475; Celebes (Min- 
ahassa), Louwerier, 1876, p. 65; (Toradja) Adriani, 1898, p. 359; 
id. 1903, p. 391; Sangir Islands, id. 1893, pp. 406, 409; Halmahera 
(Galela), van Dijken, p. 199; Cambodia, Landes, 1900, pp. 235 ff.; id. 
1886b, p. 117; Malay Peninsula (Perak), Laidlaw, p. 81; India, 
Frere, p. 211. In some of the versions the captive either makes the 
crocodile laugh or open his mouth to give the conqueror's cry, and so 

12. Java, Brandes, 1894a, p. 48; Sumatra (Lampong), van Ophuij- 
sen, p. 127; Borneo, Westenek, 1899, p. 200; Celebes (Minahassa), 
Louwerier, 1876, p. 65; Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1893, p. 406; Hal- 
mahera (Galela), van Dijken, p. 200; Cambodia, Aymonier, pp. 30 ff.; 
India, Frere, p. 2 1 1 . In some of these versions the crocodile, instead of 
floating in the stream, hides in the trickster's house. When the latter 
comes, he says, "If it is my house, it will answer when I call," and 
the crocodile, answering, betrays himself. 

13. Java, Brandes, 1894a, p. 45; Winsedt, p. 68; Sumatra (Lam- 


pong), vanOphuijsen, p. 135; Halmahera (Loda), van Baarda, p. 489; 
India, Hitopadesa, I. iv. 9; Jdtaka, No. 16. 

14. Java, Brandes, 1894a, pp. 37, 132; for other versions see id. 
1903, p. 84; Winsedt, p. 68; Sunda, Kern, 1900, p. 366; Sumatra 
(Lampong), van Ophuijsen, p. 126; (Batak) Pleyte, 1894, p. 209; 
Borneo, Low, i. 347; Celebes (Minahassa), Schwarz, p. 312; (Toradja) 
Adriani, 1903, pp. 123, 125; Halmahera (Loda), van Baarda, p. 492; 
Philippines, Alaxfield and Millington, 1906, p. 108; Cambodia, Ay- 
monier, pp. 30 ff.; Annam, Landes, 1886b, p. 116. The details vary 
slightly, but the idea is the same in all. 

15. Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1910, p. 311; Java, Brandes, 1894a, 
pp. 43, 135; Malay, id. 1894b, p. 54. 

16. See previous note and Java, Brandes, 1903, p. 81; for other 
versions see Sunda, Kern, 1908, p. 62; Malay Peninsula (Kedah), 
Skeat, 1901, p. 28; India, Keith-Falconer, p. 27. 

■: 17. Java, Brandes, 1894a, p. 43; Malay Peninsula (Kelantan), 
Skeat, 1 901, p. 45; India, Sukasaptati, No. 44. 

18. Sumatra (Lampong), van Ophuijsen, p. 133; (Achin) Hurg- 
ronje, ii. 161; Java, Brandes, 1903, p. 83; Sunda, Kern, 1900, p. 370; 
Borneo, Westenek, 1899, p. 209; (Bajau) Evans, p. 475; Celebes 
(Toradja), Adriani, 1898, p. 362; id. 1910, p. 209; Halmahera 
(Galela), van Dijken, p. 222; Philippines (Visayan), Maxfield and 
Millington, 1907, p. 315; (Tinguian) Cole, 1915, p. 198; Malay Pen- 
insula (Pahang), Skeat, 1901, p. 331; Cambodia, Aymonier, pp. 30 ff. 

19. Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1902a, p. 389; (Minahassa) Riedel, 
1869c, p. 311; P. N. Wilken, p. 382; (Parigi) Adriani, 1898, p. 344; 
Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1893, pp. 366, 382; Halmahera (Galela), van 
Dijken, p. 198; Borneo (Dusun), Evans, p. 429. 

20. Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1898, pp. 344, 346; id. 1902a, p. 390; 
Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1893, pp. 351, 356, 366, 373, 383; Halmahera 
(Tobelo), van Dijken, p. 240; Borneo (Dusun), Evans, p. 430; Malay 
Peninsula (Kelantan), Skeat, 1901, p. 6. 

21. Landes, 1886b, p. 114. 

22. Keith-Falconer, p. 164. 

23. Nauru, Hambruch, p. 450. 

24. New Guinea (Astrolabe Bay and Finschhafen), Hagen, p. 284; 
(Goodenough Bay) Seligmann, p. 410; Banks Islands, Codrington, 
p. 36 (cf. Fiji, Fison, p. 22). 

25. Funafuti, David, p. 100. 

26. Celebes (Minahassa), Louwerier, 1876, p. 55; Riedel, 1869b, 
p. 313; Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1893, p. 414; Halmahera (Galela), 
van Dijken, p. 205; Java, Kern, 1892, p. 17; Philippines (Bagobo), 
Benedict, p. 58; (Visayan) Maxfield and Millington, 1907, p. 316; 
(Tagalog) Rizal, p. 245; (Tinguian) Cole, 1915, p. 195. 

NOTES 335 

27. Rizal, p. 245. 

28. Banks Islands, Codrington, p. 360. 

29. Celebes (Toradja), Adrian!, 1898, p. 357; id. 1910, p. 196; 
(Minahassa) Riedel, 1869b, p. 311; P. N. Wilken, p. 383; Louwerier, 
1876, p. 58; (Parigi) Adriani, 1898, p. 358; Sangir Islands, id. 1893, 
pp. 406, 420; Rotti, Jonker, 1905, p. 411. 

30. Meier, 1909, pp. 49, 187. Cf. Solomon Islands, Fox and Drew, 
p. 204. 

31. Halmahera (Galela), van Dijken, p. 207; Celebes (Toradja), 
Adriani,''i902a, p. 407; (Minahassa) Riedel, 1869b, p. 313; Philippines 
(Bagobo), Benedict, p. 59; (Visayan) Maxfield and Millington, 1907, 
p. 317; (Tinguian) Cole, 191 5, p. 195; Borneo, Hose and Macdougall, 
ii. 148. 

32. Halmahera (Galela), van Dijken, p. 208; Riedel, 1869b, p. 313; 
Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1902a, p. 407; (Minahassa) P. N. VVilken, 
p. 382; Sangir Islands, Louwerier, 1876, p. 55; Philippines (Bagobo), 
Benedict, p. 60; (Visayan) Maxfield and Millington, 1907, p. 317; 
(Tinguian) Cole, 1915, p. 195; cf. New Zealand, Grey, p. 125. 

33. Halmahera (Galela), van Dijken, p. 208; Celebes (Minahassa), 
Riedel, 1869b, p. 314; Philippines (Bagobo), Benedict, p. 60; (Vis- 
ayan) Maxfield and Millington, 1907, p. 318; cf. New Guinea (Nu- 
foor), van Hasselt, p. 543; New Caledonia, Lambert, p. 317. 

34. Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1910, p. 309; cf. Melanesia, supra, 
p. 125. 

35. Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1910, p. 321. 

36. Java, Brandes, 1894a, p. 45; Winsedt, p. 62; Celebes (Mina- 
hassa), Louwerier, 1872, p. 36; Malay Peninsula (Kedah), Skeat, 
1901, p. 20. 

37. Celebes (Tontemboan), Juynboll, p. 316; Malay Peninsula 
(Perak), Laidlaw, p. 87. 

38. Halmahera (Loda), van Baarda, p. 478; Celebes (Minahassa), 
Schwarz, p. 313; P. N. Wilken, p. 380; (Toradja) Adriani, 1903, 
p. 124; Sumbawa, Jonker, 1903, p. 280; Savoe, ib. p. 288; Borneo 
(Dusun), Evans, p. 428; Philippines (Visayan), Maxfield and Milling- 
ton, 1906, p. 109; cf. New Hebrides, Suas, 1912, p. 38. 

39. Halmahera (Loda), van Baarda, p. 491; cf. New Guinea (Nu- 
foor), van Hasselt, p. 559; (Kai) Keysser, p. 192. 

40. Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1902a, p. 426; id. 1910, p. 280; 
Borneo, Westenek, p. 205; Java, Brandes, 1894a, p. 40; Sumatra 
(Battak), van der Tuuk, p. 85; Pleyte, 1894, pp. 256, 310; (Achin) 
Hurgronje, ii. 162; Malay, Adriani, 1902a, p. 429; Malay Peninsula 
(Kelantan), Skeat, 1901, pp. 9, 12. 

41. Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1898, p. 356; id. 1902a, p. 432; 
(Minahassa) Riedel, 1869b, p. 311; Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1893, 


p. 424; Halmahera (Loda), van Baarda, p. 470; Mentawei Islands, 
Morris, p. 95. Cf. Japan, Serrurier, in Adriani, 1898, p. 357, note. 

Chapter III 

1. Adriani, 1898, p. 368. 

2. Adriani, 1910, p. 297. 

3. (Loda) van Baarda, p. 465. 

4. Bezemer, pp. 46 ff. 

5. Cf. Melanesia, supra, p. no. 

6. Sumatra (Battak), Pleyte, 1894, pp. 117, 222; (Achin) Hur- 
gronje, ii. 125; Mentawei Islands, Morris, p. 56; Borneo (Kayan), 
Nieuwenhuis, i. 67; Celebes (Minahassa), Hickson, p. 264; (To- 
radja) Adriani, 1898, p. 367; id. 1910, p. 297; (Tontemboan) Schwarz 
and Adriani, pp. 91 ff.; (Toumboeloe) P. N. Wilken, p. 326; Sangir 
Islands, Adriani, 1894, p. 98; Temate, Riedel, in TNI III. v, part 2, 
439 ff. (1871); Philippines (Visayan), Maxfield and Millington, 1907, 
P- 95j (Igorot) Seidenadel, p. 548; (Tinguian) Cole, 1915, p. 108. 

7. New Guinea (Nufoor), van Hasselt, p. 534; New Hebrides, 
Codrington, pp. 172, 397; Suas, 1912, p. 54; Macdonald, 1892, p. 731. 

8. See supra, p. 64. 

9. Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1910, pp. 226 ff. 

10. This special form of charm is wide-spread, often in the form, 
"If I am the son of a diwata (Sanskrit devata, 'divinity')," etc., 
etc. See for other examples Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1910, pp. 254, 
300; Halmahera (Galela), van Dijken, pp. 395, 431; (Loda) van 
Baarda, pp. 410, 451, 472; (Tobelo) Hueting, pp. 244, 246, 248, 259, 
278; Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1894, p. 135; Philippines (Subanun), 
Christie, p. 97. 

11. For other versions see Halmahera (Galela), van Dijken, p. 271 ; 
(Loda) van Baarda, pp. 398, 407, 453, 461; Sangir Islands, Adriani, 
1894, p. 135; New Guinea (Nufoor), van Hasselt, p. 548; Annam, 
Landes, 1886b, p. 302. 

12. Halmahera (Galela), van Dijken, p. 398. 

13. (Toradja) Adriani, 1898, p. 365. 

14. See supra, p. 188. 

15. See supra, p. 156. 

16. For other versions see Celebes (Minahassa), P. N. Wilken, 
p. 323; (Bugi) Matthes, p. 441; Sumatra (Battak), Pleyte, 1894, 
pp. 143, 158, 297; Soemba, Wielenga, p. 176; Kei Islands, Pleyte, 
1893, p. 563; Riedel, 1886, p. 217. 

17. Chamberlain, pp. 119 ff. 

18. F. Boas, Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Kiiste 

NOTES 337 

Jmerikas, Berlin, 1895, pp. 94, 99, 149, 190, 238, 254, 289, 352; cf. 
Pelew Islands, Kubary, quoted by Boas, p. 352. 

19. Halmahera (Loda), van Baarda, p. 444. 

20. For other versions (usually without this ending) see van Baarda, 
p. 458; (Tobelo) Hueting, p. 274; Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1894, 
p. 160; Borneo (Dusun), Evans, p. 456; (Sea Dyak) Perham, in H. L. 
Roth, 1896, i. 301; Nias, Sundermann, 1886, p. 317; New Guinea 
(Nufoor), van Hasselt, p. 556. 

21. Evans, p. 466. 

22. This incident is known in other tales also: Celebes (Minahassa), 
P. N. Wilken, p. 329; Hickson, p. 266; Borneo (Milanau), Low, 
i. 334; (Sea Dyak) Gomes, p. 294. 

23. For other versions see (Iban) Hose and Macdougall, ii. 146; 
Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1894, p. 77; Philippines (Visayan), Maxfield 
and Millington, 1907, p. 98; (Tinguian) Cole, 191 5, pp. loi, 200; New 
Guinea (Nufoor), van Hasselt, p. 541; Cham, Landes, 1900, pp. 235 ff.; 
Cambodia, Leclere, p. 83; Annam, Landes, 1886b, p. 22. 

24. (Dusun) Evans, p. 457, 

25. (Tinguian) Cole, 1915, p. 33- ^ _ 

26. The appearance of fire or a bright light marking the presence 
of a beautiful woman is an idea generally current in Malay and In- 
donesian tales. 

27. For other versions see Halmahera (Tobelo), Hueting, p. 257; 
(Galela) van Dijken, pp. 391, 394; Soemba, Wielenga, p. 167; Biliton, 
Riedel, 1868, p. 270; Sumatra (Battak), Pleyte, 1894, p. 94; Cham, 
Landes, 1900, pp. 235 ff.; Malay Peninsula, Skeat and Blagden, ii. 343. 

28. New Britain, von Pfeil, p. 151; Kleintitschen, p. 332; Meier, 
1909, p. 35; New Guinea (Kai), Keysser, p. 168; (Goodenough Bay) 
Ker, p. 131. 

29. Halmahera (Loda), van Baarda, p. 433. 

30. The appearance of this distinctly Indian element is, of course, 
evidence that the tale is not wholly of native origin. The garuda 
seems often to take the place of the cannibal ogre who figures in less 
sophisticated stories from the tribes which were not so subject to extra- 
Indonesian influences. 

31. Cf. Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1893, pp. 367, 384; Tahiti, Leverd, 
191 2, p. 2; Federated Malay States (Perak), Laidlaw, 1906a, p. 66. 

32. For other examples of this incident see Halmahera (Galela), 
van Dijken, p. 264; (Loda) van Baarda, p. 455; (Tobelo) Hueting, 
p. 120; Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1898, p. 373; Sangir Islands, 
Adriani, 1894, p. 55; Philippines (Bagobo), Benedict, p. 46; for 
Melanesian examples see New Guinea (Nufoor), van Hasselt, p. 526; 
(Jabim) Zahn, p. 337; New Ireland, Peekel, p. 29. A variant type is 
that where the impersonator is an inanimate object: Philippines 

IX — 2-? 


(Bagobo), Benedict, p. 43; Funafuti, David, p. 102; New Guinea 
(Cape King William), Stolz, p. 274; (Goodenough Bay) Ker, p. 232. 

33. This incident of a hidden person, revealed by reflection in the 
water, is wide-spread, not only in Indonesia, but farther east in Me- 
lanesia. For other examples see Halmahera (Tobelo), Hueting, p. 236; 
Celebes (Toradja), Adriani, 1902a, p. 461 ; Rotti, Jonker, 1905, p. 422; 
Philippines (Tinguian), Cole, 1915, p. 189; New Guinea (Nufoor), 
van Hasselt, p. 571; (Kai) Keysser, p. 164; New Britain, Meier, 
1909, p. 85; Parkinson, p. 688; von Pfeil, p. 149; Torres Straits, 
Haddon, 1904, p. 89; Gray, p. 657. 

34. This incident of the deceitful reflection, for which a person 
dives in vain, is also wide-spread. For other examples see Halmahera 
(Tobelo), Hueting, p. 237; (Loda) van Baarda, p. 410; Rotti, Jonker, 
1905, p. 422; Philippines (Bagobo), Benedict, p. 41; (Tinguian) Cole, 
1915, p. 189; New Guinea (Nufoor), van Hasselt, p. 571; (Cape 
King William) Stolz, p. 264; Torres Straits, Haddon, 1904, p. 34; 
New Hebrides, Suas, 191 1, p. 908. 

35. For other instances of the "Ariadne" theme see Halmahera 
(Loda), van Baarda, pp. 425, 468; New Guinea (Cape King William), 
Stolz, p. 275; (Kai) Keysser, p. 169. 

36. For other versions of this incident see Sangir Islands, Adriani, 
1893, p. 368; id. 1894, P- 455 Halmahera' (Tobelo), Hueting, p. 272; 
(Loda) van Baarda, p. 439. 

37. Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1894, pp. 52 ff. 

38. (Loda) van Baarda, p. 438. 

39. For other comparable versions see (Tobelo) Hueting, pp. 75, 
272; Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1894, pp. 45, 60; Annam, Landes, 1886b, 
pp. 52 if.; Cham, id. 1900, pp. 235 ff.; New Guinea (Nufoor), van 
Hasselt, p. 526. 

40. van Dijken, p. 430. 

41. (Tinguian) Cole, 191 5, p. 94. 

42. The incident of the husband being sent to a distant place to 
get food or other objects of a special sort for his wife, who is about to 
give birth to a child, is not uncommon. See for other examples 
(Subanun) Christie, p. 96; Sumatra (Dairi Battak), see supra, Part 
III, Chapter I, Note 26; New Zealand, White, i. 68; Hawaii, For- 
nander, ii. 16. 

43. For other examples of a child born to a woman abandoned in a 
tree or pit, cf. New Guinea (Tami), Bamler, p. 537; (Goodenough 
Bay) Ker, p. 22; Funafuti, David, p. 107; and supra, p. 128. 

44. In Tinguian tales this is the usual method in which a child is 
born. For other examples see Cole, 191 5, pp. 38, 81, 87, 93, 151, 
etc. Birth from a blister or boil, or from an unusual part of the 
body, is a common incident in Oceanic tales. For other instances 

NOTES 339 

see Micronesia, Nauru, Hambruch, pp. 387, 451; Caroline Islands, 
von Kotzebue, iii. 198; Melanesia, New Guinea (Wagawaga), Selig- 
mann, p. 378; Fiji, Williams and Calvert, p. 171; Polynesia, Cook 
Group, Gill, 1876, p. 10; Society Group, Moerenhout, i. 426; Annam, 
Landes, 1886b, p. 174; India, D'Penha, p. 142. 

45. This incident strongly resembles that of Maui's return to his 
brothers; see supra, p. 42. 

46. Cf. for other examples of the life-token Halmahera (Loda), van 
Baarda, p. 484; Soemba, Wielenga, p. 61; New Guinea (Goodenough 
Bay), Ker, p. 61 ; Torres Straits, Haddon, 1904, p. 34; New Hebrides, 
Codrington, p. 401. 

47. See Cole, 191 5, p. 18, note i. 

48. (Loda) van Baarda, p. 394. 

49. For other examples of this incident see van Baarda, p. 459; 
Philippines (Tinguian), Cole, 1915, p. 75; Annam, Landes, 1886b, 
p. 184. 

50. Cf. (Tobelo) Hueting, p. 293. 

51. Celebes (Minahassa), P. N. Wilken, p. 304. For other versions 
see (Toradja) Adriani, 1898, p. 367; (Bugi) Matthes, p. 471; Halma- 
hera (Tobelo), Hueting, pp. 249, 284; (Loda) van Baarda, p. 449; 
Sangir Islands, Adriani, 1894, p. 10; Philippines (Tagalog), Gardner, 
pp. 266, 270. 

52. For other versions of this incident see Celebes (Toradja), Adri- 
ani, 1898, p. 370; Halmahera (Tobelo), Hueting, p. 251; (Loda) van 
Baarda, p. 416; Bali, van Eerde, pp. 43, 47; Lombok, ib. p. 36; 
Soemba, Wielenga, p. 255; Philippines (Bagobo), Benedict, p. 53; 
Annam, Landes, 1886b, pp. 150, 174. 

Chapter I 

1. Kubary, passim. 

2. Walleser, p. 609; Cantova, p. 224. 

3. Girschner, 1912, p. 187. 

4. Newell, 1895a, p. 231. 

5. See supra, p. 19. 

6. Erdland, p. 308. 

7. Walleser, p. 609. 

8. St John, i. 213; Chalmers, in H. L. Roth, 1896, i. 307. 

9. See supra, p. 159. 

10. Hambruch, p. 381. 

11. Cf. supra, p. 37. 


12. Hambruch, p. 385. 

13. Cf. Samoa (see supra, p. 20) and Borneo (see supra, p. 165). 

14. Cf. supra, p. 31. 

15. Erdland, p. 310; cf. supra, p. 17. 

16. Cantova, p. 223. 

17. Girschner, 1912, p. 187. 

18. Girschner, 1912, p. 188. 

19. Von Kotzebue, iii. 198. 

20. Erdland, p. 309. 

21. Hambruch, pp. 387, 451. 

22. Cf. also for other examples Part III, Chapter III, Note 44. 

23. See supra, p. 157. 

24. Parkinson, ii. 104. 

25. Erdland, p. 311. 

26. Kubary, p. 45. 

27. Parkinson, ii. 106. 

28. Hambruch, p. 382. 

29. Kubary, p. 47. 

30. Girschner, 1912, p. 191. 

31. Walleser, p. 611. 

32. Cantova, p. 224. 

33. Kubary, p. 44. 

34. Parkinson, ii. 104. 

35. Kubary, p. 47. 

36. Girschner, 1912, p. 185. 

37. Cf. supra, p. 47. 

38. Hambruch, p. 442. 

39. Cf. supra, p. 29. 

40. Cf. Polynesia, supra, pp. 47 fT. 

41. Hambruch, p. 388. 

42. Cf. Samoa, Stair, 1896, p. 57; Pritchard, p. 116; Turner, 1861, 
p. 254; Stuebel, p. 65; Marquesas, Radiguet, p. 230. 

43. See supra, pp. 47 ff. 

44. Walleser, p. 620. 

45. Borneo (Iban), Dunn, p. 17. 

46. Cf. Borneo (Sea Dyak), Perham, in H. L. Roth, 1896, i. 301; 
(Dusun) Evans, p. 470. 

47. Kubary, p. 46. 

Chapter II 

1. Girschner, 1912, pp. 188 ff. See also, for another version, von 
Kotzebue, iii. 198. 

2. See supra, pp. 122 ff. 

NOTES 341 

3. See supra, p. 65. 

4. Cf. Melanesia, Nauru, Hambruch, p. 391; New Guinea, 
DempwolfF, p. 74; Hagen, p. 282; Solomon Islands, Fox and Drew, 
p. 204; Funafuti, David, p. 107. 


I. Schmidt, 191 2, 191 3, passim. 

Chapter I 

1. See, for example, (Loritja) Strehlow, 1908, p. 2; New South 
Wales (Yuin), A. W. Howitt, p. 495. 

2. New South Wales (Kamilaroi), Greenway, p. 242; Ridley, 
p. 135; (Wailwun) Greenway, p. 249; (Ilawarra) Ridley, p. 137; 
South Australia (Marura), Taplin, 1879b, p. 27; (Narrinyeri) id. 
1879a, p. 55; Wyatt, p. 166; Northern Territory (Larakia), Foelsche, 

P- 15- 

3. Spencer and Gillen, 1904, p. 492. 

4. Spencer and Gillen, 1899, p. 388; Strehlow, 1907, p. 2. 

5. Spencer and Gillen, 1899, chh. x, xi, passim; id. 1904, ch. xiii, 
passim; Strehlow, 1907, p. 3, and passim; id. 1908, p. 2, and passim; 
Howitt and Siebert, p. 102. 

6. Spencer and Gillen, 1904, p. 408. 

7. Smyth, i. 424, note. 

8. Spencer and Gillen, 1899, p. 388. For another version see 
Strehlow, 1907, p. 3. 

9. (Loritja) Strehlow, 1908, p. 4; (Dieyeri) Gason, 1874, p. 13; 
Howitt and Siebert, p. 102; A. W. Howitt, p. 779; (Kaitish) Spencer 
and Gillen, 1904, p. 399; (Unmatjera) ib. p. 403. 

10. New South Wales (Yuin), A. W. Howitt, p. 484; (Wathi- 
wathi) Cameron, p. 368. 

11. West, ii. 89. 

12. South Australia (Adelaide and Encounter Bay), Wyatt, p. 166; 
(Narrinyeri) Taplin, 1879a, p. 55; Victoria, Ridley, p. 137; (Yarra) 
Smyth, i. 425; New South Wales (Marura), Taplin, 1879b, p. 27; 
(Kamilaroi) Ridley, p. 135; Greenway, p. 242; (Wailwun) ib. p. 249; 
Northern Territory (Larakia), Foelsche, p. 15. 

13. Smyth, i. 424. 

14. Proserpine River, W. E. Roth, p. 16. 

15. Encounter Bay, H. A. E. Meyer, 1879, p. 201; cf. Queensland 
(Princess Charlotte Bay), W. E. Roth, p. 15. 


i6. Thomas, p. 65 (quoted in Smyth, i. 427). 

17. (Kaitlsh) Spencer and Gillen, 1904, p. 499. 

18. Smyth, i. 428. Cf. Micronesia, supra, p. 252. 

19. Parker, 1898, p. 28. 

20. Beveridge, 1883, p. 60; Stanbridge, 1861, p. 301; cf. Melane- 
sia, Woodlark Island, Montrouzier, p. 371. 

21. Spencer and Gillen, 1899, p. 561; id. 1904, p, 624; Strehlow, 
1907, p. 16. 

22. (Loritja) Strehlow, 1908, p. 8. 

23. H. A. E. Meyer, 1879, p. 200. 

24. Pennefether River, W. E. Roth, p. 8. 

25. Smyth, i. 430. 

26. Spencer and Gillen, 1899, p. 564; Strehlow, 1907, p. 17. The 
moon seems to be regarded here as an object, not as a person; but 
cf. Spencer and Gillen, 1904, p. 625. 

27. Cf. also Northern Territory (Mara), Spencer and Gillen, 1904, 
p. 627. 

28. Princess Charlotte Bay, W. E. Roth, p. 7. 

29. (Wongibon) Matthews, 1904, p. 359. 

30. Cf. Polynesia, supra, Chapter III, Note 91, and Indonesia, 
supra. Chapter III, Note 32. 

31. Cf. Victoria, Stone, p. 463. 

32. Spencer and Gillen, 1899, p. 564; cf. (Loritja) Strehlow, 1908, 
p. 8; New South Wales (Kurnu), Matthews, 1904, p. 358. 

33. Spencer and Gillen, 1904, p. 626. 

34. For other moon-myths see Northern Territory (Kaitish), 
Spencer and Gillen, 1904, p. 625; Central Australia (Dieyeri), M. E. 
B. Howitt, p. 406; South Australia (Narrinyeri), H. A. E. Meyer, 
1879, p. 200; Victoria, Smyth, i. 431; Queensland (Boulia), W. E. 
Roth, p. 7. 

35. See supra, pp. iii. 

36. Dawson, p. 106. 

37. Cf. New South Wales (Kamilaroi), Matthews, 1904, p. 354. 

38. Victoria (Lake Tyers and Kurnai), Smyth, i. 429, 478; for 
other tales of the origin of the sea see Victoria, Smyth, i. 429, note; 
Queensland (Pennefether River) W. E. Roth, p. II. 

39. See infra, pp. 281, 284. 

40. Cf. Queensland (Princess Charlotte Bay), W. E. Roth, p. 12. 

41. Victoria {?), Dunlop, p. 23; cf. Melanesia, New Guinea (Ber- 
linhafen), Schleiermacher, p. 6; Indonesia, supra, pp. 180 ff. 

42. Brown, p. 509. 

43. (Wongibon) Matthews, 1904, p. 351. 

44. Cf. (Euahlayi) Parker, 1896, p. 24; Cameron, p. 368; South 
Australia (Encounter Bay), H. A. E. Meyer, 1879, P- 203; Vic- 

NOTES 343 

toria (?), Dunlop, p. 25; Dawson, p. 54; Smyth, i. 458; Queens- 
land (Pennefether River), W. E. Roth, p. 11. 

45. Smyth, i. 459; cf. (Kamilaroi) Ridley, p. 137. 

46. Spencer and Gillen, 1899, p. 446; cf. South Australia (Narrin- 
yeri), Eylmann, p. 92. 

47. Matthew, p. 186. 

48. See supra, p. 113. 

49. See supra, p. 47. 

50. Lake Condah, Smyth, i. 462. 

51. Cape Grafton, W. E. Roth, p. 11; cf. Victoria, Stanbridge, 
1861, p. 303. 

52. (Euahlayi) Parker, 1896, p. 24. 

53. (Kulkadoan) Urquhart, p. 87. 

54. Cf. Northern Territory, Spencer and Gillen, 1904, p. 619. 

55. Milligan, p. 274. 

56. Cf. Central Australia (Arunta), Spencer and Gillen, 1899, 

P- 445- 

57. See supra, p. 278. 

58. Parker, 1896, p. 8; for another versipn see South Australia 
(Narrinyeri), Taplin, 1879b, p. 51. 

59. (Arunta) Strehlow, 1907, p. 32; (Loritja) id. 1908, p. 4. 

60. But cf. Polynesia, supra, p. 29, and Indonesia, supra, pp. 159, 

Chapter II 

1. Parker, 1896, p. i; cf. Queensland (Pennefether River) W. E. 
Roth, p. 13; and supra, p. 146. 

2. Smyth, i. 449. 

3. Princess Charlotte Bay, W. E. Roth, p. 12. 

4. (Narrinyeri), Taplin, 1879a, p. 62; Victoria, Matthews, 1907, 
p. 44. 

5. Parker, 1897, pp. 70 ff. 

6. Parker, 1898, p. i. 

7. (Narrinyeri) Taplin, 1879a, p. 56; H. A. E. Meyer, 1879, P- 201. 

8. See supra, p. 274. 

9. (Euahlayi) Parker, 1898, p. ii. 

10. Wyatt, 1879, p. 166. 

11. See supra, p. 139. 

12. Dunlop, p. 33. No locality is given, but Victoria seems to be 

13. (Euahlayi) Parker, 1898, p. 43. 

14. (Euahlayi) Parker, 1896, p. 11. 

15. Matthews, 1904, p. 375. Cf. Philippines (Tinguian), Cole, 191 5, 
p. 118; (Tagalog) Gardner, pp. 270, 272; India, DTenha, p. 142. 


i6. Ci. Smyth, i. 427; Hawaii, Westervelt, 1910, p. 115; Man- 
gaia. Gill, 1876, p. 5; Samoa, Stuebel, p. 66. 

17. Smyth, i. 447; cf. New South Wales (Euahlayi), Parker, 1896, 
p. 47. 

18. (Arunta) Strehlow, 1907, p. 18. 

19. Anonymous, 1907b, p. 29. 

20. Victoria (?), Dunlop, p. 29. 




Am. Antiq American Antiquarian. 

Arch. /. Anth Archiv fiir Anthropologic. 

Austr. Assoc. Adv. Sci. . . Australian Association for the Ad- 
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